How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Atascadero California
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Atascadero CA is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. 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 programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Atascadero CA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending 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 care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 exams. After 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
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Atascadero CA dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Atascadero CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice 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 dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Atascadero CA, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Atascadero CA employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Atascadero CA dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs 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 Atascadero CA dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Atascadero CA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Atascadero CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Atascadero CA at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Atascadero CA?
Atascadero is a city in San Luis Obispo County, California, about equidistant from Los Angeles and San Francisco on U.S. Route 101. Atascadero is part of the San Luis Obispo - Atascadero - Paso Robles metropolitan area. Atascadero is farther inland than most other cities in the county, and as a result, usually experiences warmer, drier summers, and cooler winters than other nearby cities such as San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach. The main freeway through town is the US 101. The nearby State Routes 41 and 46 provide access to the Pacific Coast and the California Central Valley.
Atascadero is a Spanish word loosely translated as bog, from the verb "atascar" which means to become stuck or hindered. Also, in the Chumash language, Atascadero translates into a place of much water.
The area was originally home to the Salinan Indians. In the half century between 1769 and 1823 the Spanish Franciscans established 21 missions along the California coast, including the nearby Mission San Miguel Arcángel, and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa. In 1821, Mexico won its independence from Spain, and California became a Mexican province. In 1833, the Mexican government secularized the mission lands. Mexican Governor Juan Alvarado granted Rancho Atascadero to Trifon Garcia in 1842, and Pio Pico granted Pedro Estrada Rancho Asuncion in 1845. Patrick Washington Murphy held ownership of 61,000 acres (25,000 ha) at one time.
Edward Gardner Lewis, a magazine publisher from the East, founded Atascadero in 1913 as a utopian, planned colony. He had previously created such a community, at University City, Missouri. After purchasing the Atascadero Ranch in 1912, Lewis put together a group of investors, paid J.H. Henry $37.50 per acre ($93/ha), and celebrated acquisition of the ranch on July 4, 1913. As investors came to homestead the land that they had bought with their down payments, the area was transformed into a "tent city" with tents situated on land now occupied by Century Plaza and Bank of America. Lewis employed the services of experts in agriculture, engineering and city planning to develop his dream colony for the anticipated 30,000 residents. In 1914 the land was surveyed and subdivided. Thousands of acres of orchards were planted, a water system was installed, and construction began on an 18 mi (29 km) road (now Highway 41 west) through the Santa Lucia Mountains to the ocean (Morro Bay), where Lewis built cottages and a beachfront hotel called the Cloisters.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Atascadero CA
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training 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 typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Atascadero CA.
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