How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Oak Island North Carolina
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Oak Island NC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as 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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles 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 undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Oak Island NC dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Oak Island NC dental offices are often 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 virtually 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 Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Oak Island NC home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oak Island NC, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps 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 ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Oak Island NC employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Oak Island NC dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive 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 build professional relationships in the Oak Island NC dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Oak Island NC dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Oak Island NC dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Oak Island NC area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Oak Island NC at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Oak Island NC?
Oak Island, North Carolina
Oak Island is a seaside town located mostly on the barrier island of Oak Island (which also contains the town of Caswell Beach), in Brunswick County, North Carolina, United States. The town extends onto the mainland north of the island's bridge. The population was 6,783 at the 2010 census. It was founded in 1999 by the consolidation of the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach. Its main industry is tourism; the town has an average summer population of 30-50,000.
The island has been inhabited since the early 19th century; Fort Caswell was built on its eastern end in 1838. The remainder of the island was developed beginning in the late 1930s, attracting people from nearby Southport. Fox hunting was popular in the northern area near the Intracoastal Waterway. The island was nearly wiped out by Hurricane Hazel in 1954; only five buildings were left standing on Long Beach in the hurricane's wake. The island quickly recovered, and the towns of Long Beach and Yaupon Beach were incorporated in 1955. Other hurricanes, such as Diana in 1984, Bertha and Fran in 1996 and Floyd in 1999, have caused damage to the island, though not nearly as catastrophic as that of Hazel.
Construction began on a $64 million 980-foot (300 m) bridge project in November 2007, with a December 2009 completion date. Two lanes of traffic opened in November 2010, and a formal dedication took place January 27, 2011. Four lanes of traffic began using the bridge that same month. The new bridge will likely result in increased development of the town.
In June 2015, two separate shark attacks occurred two miles and two hours apart from each other on the beachfront south side of the town. Both victims lost an arm and were in critical condition, but were quickly stabilized due to fast civilian and rescue responses. The beach was promptly closed for the remainder of the day but reopened the following morning.
Choose the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Oak Island NC
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oak Island NC.
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