How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist School near Greenwood Arkansas
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Greenwood AR is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Greenwood AR practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Greenwood AR dental offices are generally 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 finish 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 component to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Greenwood AR home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Greenwood AR, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Greenwood AR employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Greenwood AR dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means 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 create professional relationships in the Greenwood AR dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Greenwood AR dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Greenwood AR dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Greenwood AR area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Greenwood AR at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Greenwood AR?
Greenwood is a city in and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is the fifth largest municipality in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 8,952 according to the 2010 US Census.
Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood. Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties. The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square. This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square. Since that time the square has become a city park and site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.
The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.
The clock and bell tower that stands in the middle of town square was designed and built in 1976 in recognition of the United States' bicentennial. The bell tower houses the clock and bell that was once in the courthouse that was destroyed by the tornado. The clock and bell were used in the bell tower to recognize and remember the 14 people who died during the tornado.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Greenwood AR
Enrolling in the right 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 you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Greenwood AR.
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