How to Pick a Dental Hygienist School near Littleton North Carolina
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Littleton NC is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Littleton NC dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying 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 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Littleton NC 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 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| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind 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 provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Littleton NC home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Littleton NC, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify 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. Littleton NC employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers 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, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Littleton NC dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Littleton NC dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Littleton NC dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Littleton NC area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Littleton NC in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Littleton NC?
Littleton, North Carolina
As of the census of 2000, there were 692 people, 333 households, and 201 families residing in the town. The population density was 720.5 people per square mile (278.3/km2). There were 378 housing units at an average density of 393.6 per square mile (152.0/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 54.34% White, 42.77% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 1.16% from other races, and 1.01% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.16% of the population.
There were 333 households out of which 21.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.7% were married couples living together, 20.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.6% were non-families. 38.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.70.
In the town, the population was spread out with 21.5% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 20.2% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 27.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 68.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 65.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $23,182, and the median income for a family was $37,500. Males had a median income of $29,583 versus $22,375 for females. The per capita income for the town was $15,901. About 19.1% of families and 22.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.6% of those under age 18 and 17.5% of those age 65 or over.
Choose the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Littleton NC
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Littleton NC.
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