How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Lafayette Louisiana
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Lafayette LA is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lafayette LA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After 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
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lafayette LA dental practices are often required to have 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 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 college might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Lafayette LA home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lafayette LA, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lafayette LA employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lafayette LA dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical 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 Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs 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 Lafayette LA dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lafayette LA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length 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 come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lafayette LA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Lafayette LA at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Lafayette LA?
Lafayette (/ˌlæfiˈjɛt/; French: [lafajɛt]) is a city in and the parish seat of Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, located along the Vermilion River in the southwestern part of the state. The city of Lafayette is the fourth-largest in the state, with a population of 127,657 according to 2015 U.S. Census estimates. It is the principal city of the Lafayette, Louisiana Metropolitan Statistical Area, with a 2015 estimated population of 490,488. The larger trade area or Combined Statistical Area of Lafayette-Opelousas-Morgan City CSA was 627,146 in 2015. Its nickname is The Hub City.
The Attakapas Native Americans inhabited this area at the time of European encounter. French colonists founded the first European settlement, Petit Manchac, a trading post along the Vermilion River. In the late eighteenth century, numerous Acadian refugees settled in this area, after being expelled from Canada after Great Britain defeated France in the Seven Years' War. They intermarried with other settlers, forming what is known as Cajun culture, which continued as strongly French language and Catholic religion.
Jean Mouton, of Acadian descent, donated land to the Catholic church for construction of a small Catholic chapel at this site. In 1824 this area was selected for the Lafayette Parish seat and known as Vermilionville, for its location on the river. In 1836 the Louisiana Legislature granted it incorporation.
The area was developed for agriculture, primarily sugar plantations, which depended on the labor of numerous enslaved Africans. They made up a large percentage of the antebellum population. According to U.S. Census data, 41 percent of the population of Lafayette Parish was enslaved in 1830, and that number increased to 49.6 percent by 1860. A small percentage of free people of color lived in Lafayette Parish as well; they made up 3 percent to a low of 2.4 percent between 1830 and 1860.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist School near Lafayette LA
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lafayette LA.
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