How to Select a Dental Hygienist College near Pismo Beach California
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Pismo Beach CA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Pismo Beach CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Pismo Beach CA dental practices are often 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 vocational 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| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Pismo Beach CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Pismo Beach CA, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pismo Beach CA employers frequently prefer 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 offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Pismo Beach CA dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive 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 form professional relationships in the Pismo Beach CA dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching 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 Pismo Beach CA dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Pismo Beach CA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Pismo Beach CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Pismo Beach CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Pismo Beach CA?
Pismo Beach, California
Pismo Beach (Chumash: Pismu', “Tar” ) is a city in San Luis Obispo County, in the Central Coast area of California, United States. The estimated population was 7,931 in 2014, up from 7,655 in the 2010 census. It is part of the Five Cities Area, a cluster of cities in that area of San Luis Obispo County. The "Five Cities" is actually only three cities; Grover Beach, Pismo Beach, and Arroyo Grande. Oceano is a Community Service District and Shell Beach is part of Pismo Beach.
The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portolà expedition, passed through the area, traveling up today's Price Canyon from Pismo Beach, where they camped on September 4, 1769. Franciscan missionary and expedition member Juan Crespi noted in his diary that they found a native village near the creek.
Pismo Beach is located on the Rancho Pismo Mexican land grant made to José Ortega, grandson of José Francisco Ortega, in 1840. In 1846 José Ortega sold Rancho Pismo to Isaac Sparks. John Michael Price bought most of the rancho from Sparks. Price established the town of Pismo Beach in 1891. His homestead is now Price Historical Park. His home is a registered historical landmark.
The name Pismo comes from the Chumash language word for tar, Pismu, which was gathered from tar springs in Price Canyon near Pismo Beach. The tar was a valuable product which the Chumash Indians used to caulk their seagoing canoes, called tomol, which traveled along the coast and out to the Channel Islands.
Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Pismo Beach CA
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Pismo Beach CA.
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