How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Jacksonville Florida
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Jacksonville FL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school’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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Jacksonville FL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Jacksonville FL dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Jacksonville FL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Jacksonville FL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Jacksonville FL employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Jacksonville FL dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Jacksonville FL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Jacksonville FL dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Jacksonville FL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Jacksonville FL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Jacksonville FL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Jacksonville FL?
Jacksonville is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Florida and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits. With an estimated population of 907,529 as of 2017, Jacksonville is also the most populous city in the southeastern United States. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,631,488 and is the fourth largest in Florida.
Jacksonville is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River in the First Coast region of northeast Florida, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and 340 miles (550 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain; it was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.
Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the U.S. Marine Corps Blount Island Command, and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Jacksonville's military bases and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay form the third largest military presence in the United States. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is also important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf. People from Jacksonville may be called "Jacksonvillians" or "Jaxsons" (also spelled "Jaxons").
The area of the modern city of Jacksonville has been inhabited for thousands of years. On Black Hammock Island in the national Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve, a University of North Florida team discovered some of the oldest remnants of pottery in the United States, dating to 2500 BC. In the 16th century, the beginning of the historical era, the region was inhabited by the Mocama, a coastal subgroup of the Timucua people. At the time of contact with Europeans, all Mocama villages in present-day Jacksonville were part of the powerful chiefdom known as the Saturiwa, centered around the mouth of the St. Johns River. One early map shows a village called Ossachite at the site of what is now downtown Jacksonville; this may be the earliest recorded name for that area.
Enroll in the Best Dental Hygienist School near Jacksonville FL
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Jacksonville FL.
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