How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Westbrook Connecticut
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Westbrook CT is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Westbrook CT practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Westbrook CT dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Westbrook CT home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Westbrook CT, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Westbrook CT employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Westbrook CT dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Westbrook CT dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Westbrook CT dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Westbrook CT dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Westbrook CT area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Westbrook CT at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Westbrook CT?
Westbrook is a town in Middlesex County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 6,938 at the 2010 census. The town center is also classified by the U.S. Census Bureau as a census-designated place (CDP).
Westbrook lies in the shoreline area of the state. The town is bordered by the towns of Essex, Clinton, Deep River, and Old Saybrook, where the Connecticut River empties into Long Island Sound. The Salt Meadow Unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge is located in town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 21.4 square miles (55 km2), of which, 15.7 square miles (41 km2) is land and 5.7 square miles (15 km2) (26.47%) is water. The CDP has a total area of 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2) of which 22.33% is water.
Westbrook encompasses three islands in Long Island Sound, all of which are uninhabited. Salt Island is the easternmost and smallest, at approximately 0.9 acres. Menunketesuck Island, which is the largest of Westbrook's islands at approximately 4.6 acres, extends into the Sound from the outlet of the Menunketesuck and Patchogue Rivers and is part of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Further west is Duck Island, measuring approximately 3.6 acres.
Enroll in the Best Dental Hygienist School near Westbrook CT
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Westbrook CT.
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