How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist School near Westerly Rhode Island
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Westerly RI is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Westerly RI dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once 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
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Westerly RI 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind 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 available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Westerly RI home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Westerly RI, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included 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 many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Westerly RI employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any 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 important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Westerly RI dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Westerly RI dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Westerly RI dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Westerly RI dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Westerly RI area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Westerly RI at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Westerly RI?
Westerly, Rhode Island
Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island, United States founded in 1669 by John Babcock. It is a beachfront community on the south shore of the state. The population was 22,787 at the 2010 census.
On the western border of Westerly flows the Pawcatuck River, once renowned for its own species of Westerly salmon, three of which are on the town's crest. The river flows from some fifteen miles (24 km) inland, emptying into Little Narragansett Bay. It also serves as the boundary between Westerly and Pawcatuck, Connecticut. Along the coast of Westerly lie salt ponds which serve as shallow reeflike pools whose outer walls form the long, white beaches for which the town became renowned. From west to east, these ponds are called Maschaug Pond, Winnapaug Pond, and Quonochontaug Pond. The town also has the fresh water lake Chapman's Pond which is undergoing revitalization. A type of granite known as Westerly granite has long been quarried here. Westerly granite is ideal for statuary and has been used in numerous government buildings of several states along the eastern seaboard. The Westerly area was known for its granite and stone-cutting industry.
Westerly becomes a large tourist attraction during the summer months, during which the population nearly doubles. From east to west, well-known beaches include Weekapaug Beach, Westerly Town Beach, Misquamicut State Beach, East Beach, and Watch Hill Beach.
Westerly was probably named for the settlement's location respective to Rhode Island's geography, being the westernmost town in the state. But there is also a possibility that the town got its name from the English village of Westerleigh, in the county of Gloucestershire. The English village was the home of one of Westerly's founding fathers Elder John Crandall (c. 1612–1676). Crandall settled in Westerly in 1661, and the early history of Westerly contains many references to him and his sons.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Westerly RI
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Westerly RI.
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