In these scary and uncertain times, you may fear that you’ll never be able to get back into a classroom. COVID-19 has disrupted so many lives, but it doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your dreams of becoming a dental hygienist.
Though dental hygienist programs have had to adjust their curriculum to allow for social distancing and other measures, getting your certification is easier than ever. But how do you choose the right school for you? You know to check their graduation and hiring rates, but how have they accounted for the novel Coronavirus?
Here’s a guide on how to pick the best dental hygienist program during a pandemic.
Make Sure They’re Tech-Savvy
Most of your from-the-book education will be conducted virtually for the foreseeable future. Make sure that the program has a plan for virtual learning beyond “we’ll be using Zoom”. They should be able to detail the curriculum and the software you’ll be using.
You’ll be learning a lot in a relatively short amount of time. Most dental hygienist programs only take two years. Though it is important to give educators grace in learning to conduct a virtual classroom, you shouldn’t have to deal with choppy Zoom meetings and buffering lectures.
Ask About Their Social Distancing Measures
If your program is still offering in-person clinicals or labs, ask how they plan to enforce social distancing. Ask if they will enforce a mask mandate, and how. How many students will be in a room at once?
Of course, some programs may be more lax than others. If you feel comfortable entering a classroom with other students, then this may not be your biggest concern. But if you have a compromised immune system or are taking care of a high-risk person, make sure your program is working to keep you safe.
Also bear in mind that you may not have to attend clinicals until later in your education. This may not be a concern for another year, and who knows what the pandemic will look like by then.
Find Out Whether They’re Still Taking Patients
Canadian dental schools have been urged to stop taking patients unless they are urgent or high-risk. Many schools have decided to only let higher-level dentistry students see patients as well.
This means that your hygienist program may not have you work on a human until all COVID-19 fears are eased. Though this prevents the transmission of the virus significantly, you may decide it’s a deal breaker.
Know that a good program will make do without patients, and still effectively prepare you for the workforce. You will be ready to work after graduation!
Pick The Best Dental Hygienist Program For Your Lifestyle
Picking a dental hygienist program is a difficult choice in the best of times. The pandemic is forcing schools to adapt very quickly, and some have done it better than others. But even after this is all over, people will need dentists and hygienists.
Apply now to a dental hygienist program and invest in your future. You’ll gain a stable career and valuable knowledge.