How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist Program near Lowell Arkansas
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Lowell AR is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lowell AR practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Lowell AR dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lowell AR home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lowell AR, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lowell AR employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lowell AR dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lowell AR dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Lowell AR dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lowell AR area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Lowell AR in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Lowell AR?
Lowell is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, in the United States. Located within the Ozarks, first settlement was along Old Wire Road in the 1840s, and although destroyed during the Civil War, the community was reestablished by J. H. McClure and thrived when the St. Louis–San Francisco Railway came through the area in the 1880s. Today, the city is a growing bedroom community within the rapidly growing Northwest Arkansas region. Lowell is also home to the headquarters of trucking company J.B. Hunt. Lowell's population was 7,327 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46% since 2000.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Lowell has a total area of 9.2 square miles (23.9 km2), of which 9.2 square miles (23.7 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.68%, is water. Lowell is located in southern Benton County at 36°15′38″N 94°8′22″W / 36.26056°N 94.13944°W / 36.26056; -94.13944 (36.260429, -94.139570). It is bordered by the cities of Springdale and Bethel Heights to the south, Cave Springs to the west and Rogers to the north. 4 miles (6 km) to the east is Beaver Lake, a large reservoir of the White River.
The Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area consists of three Arkansas counties: Benton, Madison, and Washington, and McDonald County, Missouri. The area had a population of 347,045 at the 2000 census which had increased to 463,204 by the 2010 Census (an increase of 33.47 per cent). The area does not consist of the usual principal-city-with-suburbs morphology; instead the four principal cities are all located along Interstate 49 in a linear configuration. Lowell is also located along this corridor, between Springdale and Rogers.
As of the 2010 census Lowell had a population of 7,327. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 68.7% non-Hispanic white, 0.9% black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.4% Pacific Islander, 2.6% from two or more races and 24.7% Hispanic or Latino.
Select the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Lowell AR
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lowell AR.
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