How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Fairfield California
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Fairfield CA is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the college’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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fairfield CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fairfield CA dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fairfield CA home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fairfield CA, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fairfield CA employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Fairfield CA dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fairfield CA dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Fairfield CA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fairfield CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Fairfield CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Fairfield CA?
Fairfield is a city in, and the county seat of, Solano County, California, in the North Bay sub-region of the San Francisco Bay Area. It is generally considered the midpoint between the cities of San Francisco and Sacramento, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from the city center of both cities, approximately 40 miles (64 km) from the city center of Oakland, less than 19 miles (31 km) from Napa Valley, 16 miles (26 km) from the Carquinez Bridge, and 14 miles (23 km) from the Benicia Bridge. Fairfield was founded in 1856 by clippership captain Robert H. Waterman, and named after his former hometown of Fairfield, Connecticut.
It is the home of Travis Air Force Base and the headquarters of Jelly Belly. With a population of 108,321 at the 2010 census, it is slightly smaller in population than Vallejo. Other nearby cities include Suisun City, Vacaville, Rio Vista, Benicia, and Napa.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 37.6 square miles (97 km2), of which, 34.4 square miles (89 km2) of it is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) of it is water. The total area is 5.65% water.
The city is located within the California Coastal Ranges. The city is centered directly north of the Suisun Bay and northeast of the San Pablo Bay. Much of the Suisun Bay contains the Suisun Marsh, the largest saltwater marsh on the west coast of the United States.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Fairfield CA
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fairfield CA.
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