How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Port Charlotte Florida
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Port Charlotte FL is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the school’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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Port Charlotte FL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Port Charlotte FL dental practices are usually required to have 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Port Charlotte FL home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Port Charlotte FL, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of 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 help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Port Charlotte FL employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Port Charlotte FL dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Port Charlotte FL dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Port Charlotte FL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting 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 colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Port Charlotte FL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Port Charlotte FL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Port Charlotte FL?
Port Charlotte, Florida
Port Charlotte is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. The population was 54,392 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Punta Gorda, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Port Charlotte was named to Forbes' list of "25 Best Places to Retire in 2015", listed among the ten best places in the United States to retire for the year 2012 by U.S. News & World Report, and was ranked at #1 in CNNMoney.com's 2009 list of 25 Best Places to Retire.
The first people to call the Port Charlotte area home were the nomadic Paleo-Indians as they chased big game such as woolly mammoth southward during the last ice age around 10,000 BC. At the time, Port Charlotte was not a coastal area; the peninsula of Florida was much wider than it is today and much drier. As the ice melted, the sea level rose and Florida assumed the shape and climate it has today and the Paleo-Indians gave way to the Calusa, the "shell people." The Calusa thrived on the southwest Florida coast and numbered over 50,000 when the first Spaniards reached the peninsula in the 16th century. The arrival of the Europeans was devastating to the Calusa, as diseases such as smallpox and measles decimated the population. Eventually the Seminole would arrive from points to the north and establish themselves on the peninsula.
In 1819, Florida was ceded by the Spanish and became a U.S. territory, and in 1845 Florida became the 27th state. For the first 100 years of statehood, the area around Port Charlotte was mostly undeveloped. Maps of the area at the turn of the 20th century show that most of the roads and railroads leading into southwest Florida had bypassed the Port Charlotte area. Aside from some cattle ranches and small farming, the area was mostly uninhabited. This would change when the post-World War II boom opened people's eyes to the possibility of developing land in Florida.
Find the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Port Charlotte FL
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 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 choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Port Charlotte FL.
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