How to Select a Dental Hygienist School near Benton Louisiana
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Benton LA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
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 assists the Benton LA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Benton LA dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Benton LA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Benton LA, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final 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 pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Benton LA employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Benton LA dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Benton LA dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Benton LA dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Benton LA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Benton LA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Benton LA?
Benton is a town in and the parish seat of Bossier Parish, in the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population was 2,035 at the 2000 census but declined to 1,948 in 2010. The town is named for 19th century U.S. Senator Thomas Hart Benton, a Democrat from Missouri and an ally of U.S. President Andrew Jackson.
The larger Bossier City is located south of Benton. In Benton Square downtown near the Bossier Parish School Board office, the town maintains several historical buildings, including primitive cabins, a one-room schoolhouse museum, and the boyhood home of William Clark Hughes, who was the Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1926 to 1928.
On April 3, 1999, a powerful F4-rated tornado roared through portions of the town killing six people and injuring 90. A mobile home park located south of town and homes near the Palmetto Country Club were devastated. Neighborhoods affected included Haymeadow Trailer Park, Palmetto Park/Palmetto Place (adjacent to the country club), Bay Hills, Woodlake South, Twin Lake Community, and many other newer lakefront homes located around Cypress Lake. The population of Benton lakefront area nearly doubled between 2004 and 2008.
The Palmetto Country Club, which opened in 1954, will close its doors on December 31, 2014, after recent recruitment drives and restructuring of the membership plan failed to make the facility financially solvent. Owner John H. Ward and a partner have run the club since 2013. Ward invested $250,000 over the past year in a vain bid to keep the facility afloat. Ward added that Palmetto "is not alone in this struggle and two dominating factors are in play: memberships are decreasing nationwide, especially in the under-40 bracket; and the industry has been over built making growth within golf clubs very difficult."
Enroll in the Best Dental Hygienist School near Benton LA
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important 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 many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Benton LA.
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