How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Lehigh Acres Florida
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Lehigh Acres FL is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lehigh Acres FL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Lehigh Acres FL dental offices are often 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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| Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lehigh Acres FL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lehigh Acres FL, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lehigh Acres FL employers often 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 schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lehigh Acres FL dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lehigh Acres FL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Lehigh Acres FL dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lehigh Acres FL area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Lehigh Acres FL at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Lehigh Acres FL?
Lehigh Acres, Florida
Lehigh Acres is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lee County, Florida, United States. The US Census Bureau of 2010 had the CDP's population at 86,784. Lehigh Acres is a part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Lehigh Acres is located at 26°36′30″N 81°38′21″W / 26.60833°N 81.63917°W / 26.60833; -81.63917 (26.608333, -81.639167). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 95.98 square miles (248.6 km2), of which 94.89 square miles (245.8 km2) is land and 1.09 square miles (2.8 km2) (1.14%) is water.
Lehigh Acres was developed in the mid-1950s by Chicago businessman Lee Ratner. Seeking a tax shelter, Ratner had sold his pest control business and faced the possibility of losing most of his earnings to the high capital gains tax of that era. Ratner heard that cattle was a good investment for people in his predicament, and he bought 18,000 acres (73 km²) of land in eastern Lee County and named it the Lucky Lee Ranch. After ranching for a while, and despite having no prior development experience, Ratner joined with Gerald H. Gould, a Florida advertising executive, Manuel Riskin, a Chicago CPA, and Edward Shapiro, a former Chicagoan who was in the real estate business in California, and began land sales at Lehigh Acres.
Since the days of the Lucky Lee Ranch, the boundaries of Lehigh Acres have stretched to cover 61,000 acres (250 km2), including the runways of the former Buckingham Army Airfield, a major Army Air Forces training base that was closed at the end of World War II. The pasture land where Ratner's cattle roamed and the since broken up runways where military flight crews trained has been divided into some 152,000 0.25-acre (1,000 m2) and 0.5-acre (2,000 m2) lots for housing, along over 1,400 miles of roads. Strips of land along major thoroughfares, such as Homestead Road and Lee Boulevard, were set aside for commerce. In 1997, nearly 90% of Lehigh Acres' lots remained vacant.
Pick the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Lehigh Acres FL
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lehigh Acres FL.
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