How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist Program near Winter Haven Florida
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Winter Haven FL is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Winter Haven FL dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Winter Haven FL dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Winter Haven FL home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Winter Haven FL, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Winter Haven FL employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides enough 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 enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Winter Haven FL dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Winter Haven FL dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, 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 Winter Haven FL dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Winter Haven FL area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Winter Haven FL at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Winter Haven FL?
Winter Haven, Florida
Winter Haven is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 33,874 at the 2010 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 estimates, the city had a population of 37,689, making it the second most populated city in Polk County. It is a principal city of the Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The Timucua and the Calusa were the earliest known inhabitants of the land that would become Winter Haven. Both of these groups were deeply impacted by war and disease from the Spanish conquest of Florida in the early 1500s. The Timucua were particularly affected by the expedition of Hernando de Soto. By the 19th century, both these groups no longer existed. During these expeditions the Spanish explorers claimed the entire peninsula of Florida for the Spanish monarchy
In the 19th century the Creek and the Seminole were known to live and hunt in this area. During the Seminole Wars the Seminole leader, Chipco, and his followers were known to live in the Winter Haven area. Several small skirmishes during the war were fought in and around Winter Haven.
In 1819, after the signing of the Adams-Onís Treaty, the United States gained control of Florida. The first American or European settlers in the area were encouraged to settle here by the Armed Occupation Act of 1842.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Winter Haven FL
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Winter Haven FL.
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