How to Select a Dental Hygienist School near Lovington New Mexico
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Lovington NM is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lovington NM practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report 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
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lovington NM dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lovington NM home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lovington NM, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lovington NM employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want 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 Lovington NM dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Lovington NM dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lovington NM dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Lovington NM dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lovington NM area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Lovington NM at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Lovington NM?
Lovington, New Mexico
Lovington is located at 32°56′47″N 103°21′13″W / 32.94639°N 103.35361°W / 32.94639; -103.35361 (32.946459, -103.353618). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12 km2), of which 4.8 square miles (12 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.42%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,471 people, 3,297 households, and 2,459 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,983.6 people per square mile (766.6/km²). There were 3,823 housing units at an average density of 800.7 per square mile (309.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.85% White, 3.03% African American, 0.78% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 32.74% from other races, and 3.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 52.12% of the population.
There were 3,297 households out of which 41.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.0% were married couples living together, 13.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 22.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.80 and the average family size was 3.29.
In the city, the population was spread out with 31.8% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 18.8% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.3 males.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Lovington NM
Enrolling in the ideal 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 we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lovington NM.
More Great Cities in New Mexico