How to Select a Dental Hygienist School near Cape May New Jersey
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Cape May NJ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should 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 available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Cape May NJ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may 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 working in Cape May NJ dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Cape May NJ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. 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 necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cape May NJ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. 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 reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cape May NJ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Cape May NJ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Cape May NJ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Cape May NJ dental hygienist college 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 colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Cape May NJ 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 accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Cape May NJ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Cape May NJ?
Cape May, New Jersey
Cape May is a city at the southern tip of Cape May Peninsula in Cape May County, New Jersey, where the Delaware Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean. One of the country's oldest vacation resort destinations, it is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a year-round population of 3,607, reflecting a decline of 427 (-10.6%) from the 4,034 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 634 (-13.6%) from the 4,668 counted in the 1990 Census. In the summer, Cape May's population is expanded by as many as 40,000 to 50,000 visitors. The entire city of Cape May is designated the Cape May Historic District, a National Historic Landmark due to its concentration of Victorian buildings.
Cape May was recognized as one of America's top 10 beaches by the Travel Channel and its beach was ranked fifth in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium.
The city was named for the Dutch captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, who explored and charted the area between 1611–1614 and established a claim for the province of New Netherland. It was later settled by New Englanders from the New Haven Colony.
What is now Cape May was originally formed as the borough of Cape Island by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 8, 1848, from portions of Lower Township. It was reincorporated as Cape Island City on March 10, 1851, and finally became Cape May City as of March 9, 1869.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Cape May NJ
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program 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 a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. 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 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 Cape May NJ.
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