How to Pick a Dental Hygienist Program near Gretna Louisiana
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Gretna LA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Gretna LA 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 encounters 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Gretna LA dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Gretna LA home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gretna LA, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gretna LA employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Gretna LA dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gretna LA dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Gretna LA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gretna LA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Gretna LA at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have 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 emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Gretna LA?
Gretna is the second-largest city and parish seat of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, United States. Gretna lies on the west bank of the Mississippi River, just east and across the river from uptown New Orleans. It is part of the New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 17,736 at the 2010 census.
Gretna is located at 29°54′59″N 90°3′15″W / 29.91639°N 90.05417°W / 29.91639; -90.05417 (29.916459, -90.054260) and has an elevation of 0 feet (0 m) behind the levee along the Mississippi River.
Gretna was settled in 1836, originally as Mechanicsham, growing with a station on the Mississippi River for the Missouri Pacific Railroad, Texas and Pacific Railway, and Southern Pacific Railroad, with a ferry across the River to New Orleans. The famous spice-maker Zatarain's was founded here in 1889. Gretna was incorporated in 1913, absorbing the section of McDonogh within the Jefferson Parish boundaries. In the 1940 census, Gretna had a population of 10,879.
The city and its police received considerable press coverage when, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (late August 2005), people who attempted to escape from New Orleans by walking over the Crescent City Connection bridge over the Mississippi River were turned back at gunpoint by City of Gretna Police, along with Crescent City Connection Police and Jefferson Parish Sheriff's deputies, who set up a roadblock on the bridge in the days following the hurricane. According to eyewitnesses, some officers threatened to shoot those coming from New Orleans as they attempted to cross into Gretna on foot, and shots were fired overhead.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Gretna LA
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gretna LA.
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