How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Savannah Tennessee
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Savannah TN is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Savannah TN practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Savannah TN dental practice and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Tennessee dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Savannah TN area junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Savannah TN area trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Savannah TN home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Tennessee programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Savannah TN area schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Savannah TN typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Tennessee colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Tennessee school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Savannah TN dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as 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 might 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 ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Savannah TN college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Savannah TN dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Savannah TN dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Tennessee colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Savannah TN.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Savannah TN home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What drove you to decide on Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to ready a number of ideas about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Savannah TN
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Savannah TN.
A Bit About Savannah Tennessee
Savannah is a city in and the county seat of Hardin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,982 at the 2010 census.
Savannah hosted the NAIA college football national championship game from 1996 to 2007, and is home to several places of historical significance, including the Cherry Family Mansion.
The city's original name was "Rudd's Ferry", named for James Rudd, an early settler who established a ferry at the site in the early 1820s. Rudd's Ferry was later purchased by a wealthy landowner, David Robinson. The city was renamed "Savannah" after Savannah, Georgia, the hometown of Rudd's wife, Elizabeth.
Hardin County was the site of the 1862 Battle of Shiloh (also known as the "Battle of Pittsburg Landing") during the Civil War. The battleground site is 10 miles (16 km) southwest of the city of Savannah. Union General Ulysses S. Grant commandeered the Cherry Mansion just off the city square for use as a headquarters during the battle.
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