How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Lakewood California
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Lakewood CA is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties 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 in support of the Lakewood CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lakewood CA dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 clinical component to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lakewood CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lakewood CA, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lakewood CA employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lakewood CA dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lakewood CA dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Lakewood CA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lakewood CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Lakewood CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Lakewood CA?
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.
Lakewood is a planned, post-World War II community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California." Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.
WWII veterans could get home loans with no down payment and a 30-year mortgage at only 4 percent interest. On the first day of sales, on March 24, 1950, an estimated 30,000 people lined up to walk through a row of seven model houses. By the end of April, more than 200,000 people had flocked to the Lakewood Park sales office and more than 1,000 families had purchased homes (30 per day on average). Once, 107 homes sold in just one hour. The monthly cost was $44 to $56, including principal, interest and insurance.
The building of Lakewood broke records. Empty fields became 17,500 houses in less than three years. A new house was completed every 7 1/2 minutes, 40 to 60 houses per day, with a record 110 completed in a single day.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Lakewood CA
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lakewood CA.
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