How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Pacoima California
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Pacoima CA is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college’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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Pacoima CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pacoima CA dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well| A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally 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 Pacoima CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pacoima CA, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pacoima 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, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Pacoima CA dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Pacoima CA dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased 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 attend a couple of classes at the Pacoima CA dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Pacoima CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Pacoima CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Pacoima CA?
Pacoima, Los Angeles
Pacoima is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the northern San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. It covers an area of 7.14 square miles and has a population of over 81,000 people, with a density of approximately 10,510 people per square mile. The vast majority of the population is Hispanic.
Pacoima is bordered by the Los Angeles districts of Mission Hills on the west, Arleta on the south, Sun Valley on the southeast, Lake View Terrace on the northeast, and by the city of San Fernando on the north.
Ed Meagher of the Los Angeles Times wrote in 1955 that the 110-block area on the north side of San Fernando Road in Pacoima consisted of what he described as a "smear of sagging, leaning shacks and backhouses framed by disintegrating fences and clutter of tin cans, old lumber, stripped automobiles, bottles, rusted water heaters and other bric-a-brac of the back alleys." In 1955 Pacoima lacked curbs, paved sidewalks, and paved streets. Pacoima had what Meagher described as "dusty footpaths and rutted dirt roads that in hard rains become beds for angry streams." Meagher added that the 450 houses in the area, with 2,000 inhabitants, "squatted" "within this clutch of residential blight." He described most of the houses as "substandard." Around 1955, the price of residential property increased in value, as lots that sold years prior for $100 sold for $800 in 1955. Between 1950 and 1955, property values on Van Nuys Boulevard increased six times. In late 1952, the Los Angeles City Council allowed the Building and Safety Department to begin a slum clearance project to try to force homeowners who had houses deemed substandard to repair, demolish, or vacate those said houses. In early 1955, the city began a $500,000 project to add 9 miles (14 km) of curbs, sidewalks, and streets. Meagher said that the "neatness and cleanness" [sic] of the new infrastructure were "a challenge to homeowners grown apathetic to thoroughfares ankle deep in mud or dust." Some area businessmen established the San Fernando Valley Commercial & Savings Bank in November 1953 to finance area rehabilitation projects after other banks persistently refused to give loans to those projects.
In late 1966, a 48 page city planning report criticized the central business district of Pacoima along Van Nuys Boulevard for being "a rambling, shallow strip pattern of commercial uses... varying from banks to hamburger stands, including an unusual number of small business and service shops." A Los Angeles Times article stated that the physical image of the area was "somewhat depressing." The council recommended the establishment of smaller community shopping centers. The article stated that the Pacoima Chamber of Commerce was expected to oppose the recommendation, and that the chamber favored deepening of the existing commercial zones along Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Van Nuys Boulevard. The council criticized the lack of parking spaces and storefronts that appeared in disrepair or vacant. The report also recommended establishing shopping centers in areas outside of the Laurel Canyon-Van Nuys commercial axis. The article stated that some sections of Laurel Canyon were "in a poor state of repair" and that there were "conspicuously minimal" curbs and sidewalks. The report recommended continued efforts to improve sidewalks and trees. The report also advocated the establishment of a community center to, in the words of the article, "give Pacoima a degree of unity." Most of the residences in Pacoima were, in the words of the article, "of an older vintage." The article said most of the houses and yards, especially in the R-2 duplex zones, exhibited "sign[s] of neglect." The report said that the range of types of houses was "unusually narrow for a community of this size." The report also said that the fact had a negative effect on the community that was reflected by a lack of purchasing power. The report added "Substandard home maintenance is widespread and borders on total neglect in some sectors." The report recommended establishing additional apartments in central Pacoima; the Los Angeles Times report said that the recommendation was "clouded" by the presence of "enough apartment-zoned land to last 28 years" in the San Fernando Valley.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Pacoima CA
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive 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 schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually 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 choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pacoima CA.
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