How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist School near Kissimmee Florida
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Kissimmee FL is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental 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 provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Kissimmee FL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Kissimmee FL dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 practical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Kissimmee FL home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Kissimmee FL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at 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 program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kissimmee FL employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in 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, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Kissimmee FL dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, practical 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 establish professional relationships in the Kissimmee FL dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Kissimmee FL dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Kissimmee FL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Kissimmee FL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Kissimmee FL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Kissimmee FL?
Kissimmee (/kɪˈsɪmiː/ ki-SIM-ee) is a city in Osceola County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 59,682. It is the county seat of Osceola County. It is a Principal City of the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2010 population of 2,134,411.
This area was originally named Allendale, after Confederate Major J. H. Allen who operated the first cargo steamboat along the Kissimmee River – the Mary Belle. It was renamed Kissimmee when incorporated as a city in 1883. The etymology of the name Kissimmee is debated, apart from general agreement that it is Native American in origin. Its growth can be credited to Hamilton Disston of Philadelphia, who based his four-million acre (8,000 km2) drainage operation out of the small town. Disston had contracted with the financially wobbly state of Florida to drain its southern lands, for which he would own half of all he successfully drained. This deal made Disston the largest single landowner in the United States.
Disston's dredging and land speculation required a small steamboat industry to transport people and goods along the new waterway. The Kissimmee shipyard was responsible for building most of these large steamships, which were just one jump ahead of civilization—with Kissimmee as the jumping off point. Concurrently, the South Florida Railroad was growing and extended the end of its line from Sanford down to Kissimmee, making the town on Lake Tohopekaliga a transportation hub for Central Florida. On February 12, 1885, the Florida Legislature incorporated the Kissimmee City Street Railway.
But the heyday of Kissimmee was short-lived. Expanding railroads began to challenge the steamships for carrying freight and passengers. By 1884, the South Florida Railroad, now part of the Plant System, had extended its tracks to Tampa. The Panic of 1893 was the worst depression the U.S. had experienced up to that time, crushing land speculation and unsound debt. Hamilton Disston closed his Kissimmee land operation. Consecutive freezes in 1894 and 1895 wiped out the citrus industry. The freezes, combined with South Florida's growth and the relocation of steamship operations to Lake Okeechobee, left Kissimmee dependent on open range cattle ranching.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Kissimmee FL
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kissimmee FL.
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