How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Zephyrhills Florida
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Zephyrhills FL is an important initial step toward launching 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 doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting 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 in support of the Zephyrhills FL practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Zephyrhills FL dental offices 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 almost 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 practical component to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a good option 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 balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Zephyrhills FL home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Zephyrhills FL, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Zephyrhills FL employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any 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 provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Zephyrhills FL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Zephyrhills FL dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Zephyrhills FL dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Zephyrhills FL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Zephyrhills FL in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Zephyrhills FL?
Zephyrhills is a city in Pasco County, Florida, United States. The population was estimated at 14,381 in the 2014 census. It is a suburb of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan Statistical Area. Zephyrhills is also known as the headquarters of the Zephyrhills bottled water company and is a member of Tree City USA.
As of the census of 2000, there were 10,833 people and 2,986 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,728.2 inhabitants per square mile (667.1/km²). There were 6,167 housing units at an average density of 983.8 per square mile (379.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.63% White, 2.79% African American, 0.23% Native American, 1.12% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.60% from other races, and 1.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.03% of the population.
There were 4,944 households out of which 20.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them. 46.5% were married couples living with others, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 34.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.63.
In the city, the population was spread out with 18.1% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 21.2% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 44.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females there were 83.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.4 males.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist School near Zephyrhills FL
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Zephyrhills FL.
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