How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Palm Harbor Florida
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Palm Harbor FL is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Palm Harbor FL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform 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
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 Palm Harbor FL dental offices are normally required to hold 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 virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Palm Harbor FL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Palm Harbor FL, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college 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. Palm Harbor FL employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Palm Harbor FL dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Palm Harbor FL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Palm Harbor FL dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Palm Harbor FL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Palm Harbor FL at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Palm Harbor FL?
Palm Harbor, Florida
Palm Harbor is located 35 km north of downtown St. Petersburg and west of Tampa. It is a largely residential community with several concentrations of commerce. Downtown Palm Harbor, north of Tampa Road between U.S. Highway 19 Alternate and Omaha Street hosts many small shops and eateries along with a handful of historic buildings.U.S. Highway 19, a mile or two east of downtown, offers access to higher concentrations of commerce, with an array of national chain restaurants and retailers. One entrance to Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, a nationally regarded golf course is found on U.S. 19.
The historic downtown district of Palm Harbor, at Florida Avenue and Alt. US 19 and CR 1, has numerous festivals and craft fairs. Old Palm Harbor Main Streets, Inc., a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, hosts their signature event the first Friday of every month. "Palm Harbor's First Friday Celebrations" are a popular community event for youngsters and adults alike. There are rides and games for the children, with opportunities to dine on food from the many local restaurants, enjoy local artists and crafters displaying and selling their wares. Annually, the first Sunday in October marks when the "Taste of Palm Harbor" festival is held. The event is presented by the Palm Harbor Junior Women's Club with the proceeds benefiting their "Making a Difference" grants & scholarships program. The Taste of Palm Harbor traditionally offers live music and the tasting of samples from over 20 local restaurants, many of which make seafood their speciality.
Palm Harbor is an unincorporated part of Pinellas County. HB 183 - Town of Palm Harbor/Pinellas County, from 2009, was the most recent local bill that would have scheduled a referendum allowing Palm Harbor voters the opportunity to decide if they want to incorporate, but the bill died in committee. Pinellas County legislators had voted on January 22, 2009, to support a bill allowing voters in Palm Harbor to decide if they wanted their unincorporated community to become the county's 25th city. It passed over the objections of Pinellas County Commissioner Susan Latvala, who said she was appearing in both her official capacity and as a Palm Harbor resident. The Legislature would have needed to first conduct a feasibility study to make sure cityhood made fiscal sense.
In 1985, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners enacted County Code 85-28, which set into place the Palm Harbor Community Services Agency (PHCSA), a special taxing district to which tax was levied in the form of millage to provide for recreational and library services to the unincorporated community. The PHCSA board is a volunteer panel elected by the voters within the district to oversee the funding of Palm Harbor Library, East Lake Community Library and Palm Harbor Parks & Recreation.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Palm Harbor FL
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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 Palm Harbor FL.
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