How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Somerset Kentucky
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Somerset KY is an important first step toward beginning 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Somerset KY practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Somerset KY dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Somerset KY home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online 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 Somerset KY, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Somerset KY employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Somerset KY dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Somerset KY dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Somerset KY dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Somerset KY area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Somerset KY in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Somerset KY?
Somerset was first settled in 1798 by Thomas Hansford and received its name from Somerset County, New Jersey, where some of the early settlers had formerly lived. Somerset became the Pulaski County seat in 1802, and it was incorporated as a city in 1887. A significant Civil War battle was fought in January 1862, at Mill Springs (now "Nancy") about 8 miles (13 km) west of Somerset, and a museum is at the site. A smaller battle was fought nearby at Dutton's Hill in 1863. In 1875 tracks for the Southern Railroad were completed and Somerset saw a sudden population growth and an increase in industry. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, library services were provided by the pack horse library. The completion of Lake Cumberland in 1950 transformed Somerset from a sleepy rural community into one of the largest recreation centers in Kentucky, drawing more than 1.7 million visitors annually, especially between the Memorial and Labor Day holidays.
Somerset is located at 37°4′59″N 84°36′34″W / 37.08306°N 84.60944°W / 37.08306; -84.60944 (37.082966, -84.609387), and the downtown (central) part of the city is at an elevation of 974 feet above sea level. The city is located at the eastern end of Kentucky's Mississippian Plateau (or Pennyroyal Plateau); however, the micropolitan area extends eastward into the Appalachian Plateau (or Eastern Kentucky Coalfield), and northward to Kentucky's Outer Bluegrass region. Thus, the area shows significant variations in landforms and scenery.
Nearby Lake Cumberland is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world (101 miles in length, with an average depth of 85 feet (26 m) and a normal pool containing more than 2 trillion gallons of water). Somerset is also near Cumberland Falls and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area; its tourism industries are, in part, due to its scenic and varied landscape.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Somerset has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Somerset KY
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Somerset KY.
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