How to Pick a Dental Hygienist School near Macon Georgia
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Macon GA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Macon GA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Macon GA dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Macon GA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Macon GA, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs 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 final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Macon GA employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Macon GA dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Macon GA dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Macon GA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Macon GA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? 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 Macon GA at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Macon GA?
Macon /ˈmeɪkən/ (officially Macon–Bibb County) is a city located in the state of Georgia, United States. Macon lies near the geographic center of the state, approximately 85 miles (137 km) south of Atlanta, hence the city's nickname "The Heart of Georgia."
Located near the fall line of the Ocmulgee River, Macon is the county seat of Bibb County and had a 2014 estimated population of 153,691. Macon is the principal city of the Macon metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 231,259 in 2014. Macon is also the largest city in the Macon–Warner Robins Combined Statistical Area (CSA), a larger trading area with an estimated 417,473 residents in 2014; the CSA abuts the Atlanta metropolitan area just to the north.
In a 2012 referendum, voters approved the consolidation of Macon and Bibb County, and Macon became Georgia's fourth-largest city (just after Augusta). The two governments officially merged on January 1, 2014.
Macon is served by three interstate highways: I-16 (connecting the city to Savannah and coastal Georgia), I-75 (connecting the city with Atlanta to the north and Valdosta to the south), and I-475 (a city bypass highway).
Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Macon GA
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two 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 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Macon GA.
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