How to Select a Dental Hygienist College near Arcata California
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Arcata CA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program’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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Arcata CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled 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 increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Arcata CA dental offices are usually 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 almost 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| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Arcata CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Arcata CA, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Arcata CA employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Arcata CA dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get 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 form professional relationships in the Arcata CA dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Arcata CA dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Arcata CA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Arcata CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Arcata CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, 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.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Arcata CA?
Arcata, originally Union Town or Union, is a city adjacent to the Arcata Bay (northern) portion of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California, United States. At the 2010 census, Arcata's population was 17,231. Arcata, located 280 miles (450 km) north of San Francisco (via Highway 101), is home to Humboldt State University. Arcata is also the location of the Arcata Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Land Management, which is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands and mineral programs, including the Headwaters Forest, on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California.
Arcata has been notably progressive in its political makeup, and was the first city in the United States to elect a majority of its city council members from the Green Party. As a result of the progressive majority, Arcata capped the number of chain restaurants allowed in the city. Arcata was also the first municipality to ban the growth of any type of Genetically Modified Organism within city limits, with exceptions for research and educational purposes.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.0 square miles (28.5 km2), of which 9.1 square miles (23.6 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (17.25%) is water.
Arcata contains major public and shopping areas within the city. They include: the Downtown/Plaza Area, Northtown, and Valley West (each of these are also large neighborhoods). There are additional named neighborhoods encompassed by the city: They include: Aldergrove, Alliance (which was once a separate community located North of Arcata), Arcata Bottoms, portions of Bayside (despite it having its own Post Office and postal code), Bayview, California Heights, the Creamery District, Fickle Hill (lower portions), Greenview, the Marsh District (aka South G Street), Redwood Park (which includes the City owned Redwood forest), Sunny Brae, Sunset, and Westwood. Arcata also has the Arcata Marsh, a preserve located on the City's bay shore.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Arcata CA
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period 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 programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning 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 in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Arcata CA.
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