How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Slidell Louisiana
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Slidell LA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Slidell LA practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters 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. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar 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 graduate 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 licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Slidell LA dental practice and can perform a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Louisiana dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Slidell LA area junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Slidell LA area vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Slidell LA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Louisiana programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Slidell LA area schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Slidell LA typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited Louisiana programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Louisiana college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Slidell LA dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Slidell LA program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Slidell LA 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Slidell LA dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Louisiana colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Slidell LA.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Slidell LA home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygiene prospects is "What made you choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize several ideas about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down some concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist School near Slidell LA
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Slidell LA.
A Bit About Slidell Louisiana
Slidell /slaɪˈdɛl/ is the largest city situated on the northeast shore of Lake Pontchartrain and St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana, United States. The population was 27,068 at the 2010 census. Greater Slidell has a population of about 90,000. It is part of the New Orleans−Metairie−Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area.
One of the earlier settlers to the area was John William Gause. Along with a younger brother, Wesley Coke Asbury Gause, Judge Wingate, and several others, they left Shallotte, North Carolina, on February 18, and arrived at Pearlington, Mississippi, on April 14, 1836. Wesley and his family decided to remain there, while John and family decided to cross the Pearl River, and built a log cabin on the west bank, just a little further south. He then began a lumber mill, in the fledgling town later to be known as Slidell. His traveling back and forth from lumber yard to home created a road, known today as Gause Boulevard, a major east/west street in the town. The lumber yard was located at the northwest area of where Gause Boulevard crosses the railroad track. The log cabin was built at the very east end of the road, just a few yards from the river. The house stood until the late 1990s, and a small family burial plot still remains, where John is buried between his two wives, Lydia Russ and Johanna Frederica VanHeemskerk.
Slidell was founded on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in 1882 and 1883 during construction of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad (N.O.N.E.). The N.O.N.E. line connected New Orleans to Meridian, Mississippi. The town was named in honor of American politician and Confederate ambassador to France John Slidell, father-in-law of real estate developer Baron Frederic Emile d'Erlanger and officially chartered by the Louisiana State Legislature in 1888.
Around 1910, Slidell began a period of economic and industrial growth. A large creosote plant was built, and Slidell became home to the Fritz Salmen Brickyard, a major producer of bricks later named St. Joe Brick. A lumber mill and shipyard were also built. Following the construction of Interstate 10, Interstate 59, and Interstate 12, Slidell became a major crossroads for those traversing the Gulf States.
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