How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Palo Alto California
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Palo Alto CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school’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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Palo Alto CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Palo Alto CA dental practices 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 virtually 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 aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Palo Alto CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Palo Alto CA, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Palo Alto CA employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Palo Alto CA dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical 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 professional relationships in the Palo Alto CA dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Palo Alto CA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Palo Alto CA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Palo Alto CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Palo Alto CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Palo Alto CA?
Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto (/ˌpæloʊ ˈæltoʊ/) is a charter city located in the northwest corner of Santa Clara County, California, in the San Francisco Bay Area of the United States. Palo Alto means tall tree in Spanish.
Palo Alto was established by Leland Stanford Sr. when he founded Stanford University, following the death of his son, Leland Stanford Jr. The city includes portions of Stanford University and is headquarters to a number of high-technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard (HP), Space Systems/Loral, VMware, Tesla, Ford Research and Innovation Center, PARC, IDEO, Skype, Palantir Technologies, Houzz, and Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center. Palo Alto has also served as an incubator and as headquarters to several other prominent high-technology companies such as Apple,Google,Facebook, Logitech,Intuit, Pinterest, and PayPal.
As of the 2010 census, the city's total resident population is 64,403. Palo Alto is one of the five most expensive cities in the United States to live in and its residents are among the highest educated in the country.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the Ohlone lived on the San Francisco peninsula; in particular, the Puichon Ohlone lived in the Palo Alto area. The area of modern Palo Alto was first recorded by the 1769 party of Gaspar de Portolà, a 63-man, 200-horse expedition from San Diego to Monterey. The group overshot Monterey in the fog and when they reached modern-day Pacifica, ascended Sweeney Ridge and saw the San Francisco Bay. Portolà descended from Sweeney Ridge southeast down San Andreas Creek to Laguna Creek (now Crystal Springs Reservoirs) and the Filoli estate, and thence to the San Francisquito Creek watershed, ultimately camping from November 6–11, 1769 by a tall redwood later to be known as El Palo Alto. Thinking the bay was too wide to cross, the group retraced their journey to Monterey, and never became aware of the Golden Gate entrance to the Bay.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Palo Alto CA
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Palo Alto CA.
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