How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near San Fernando California
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near San Fernando CA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school’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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the San Fernando CA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. Once 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 Education Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in San Fernando CA dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well| A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your San Fernando CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in San Fernando CA, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. San Fernando CA employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local San Fernando CA dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the San Fernando CA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the San Fernando CA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the San Fernando CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near San Fernando CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near San Fernando CA?
San Fernando, California
The city was named for the nearby Mission San Fernando Rey de España (which in turn was named after St. Ferdinand), and was part of the Mexican land grant of Rancho Ex-Mission San Fernando. In 1874 Charles Maclay, San Fernando founder, bought 56,000 acres (227 km2) of the Rancho. In 1882, cousins George K. Porter and Benjamin F. Porter of future Porter Ranch each received one-third of the total land. In 1885, Maclay founded the Maclay School of Theology, a Methodist seminary in his newly founded town of San Fernando. After his death it became an affiliate and moved to the campus of the University of Southern California and then the Claremont School of Theology.
While most of the towns in the surrounding San Fernando Valley agreed to annexation by Los Angeles in the 1910s, eager to tap the bountiful water supply provided by the newly opened Los Angeles Aqueduct, San Fernando's abundant groundwater supplies allowed it to remain a separate city. Even as the San Fernando Valley transformed itself from an agricultural area to a suburban one in the decades after World War II, San Fernando retained its independence.
As with much of the San Fernando Valley east of the San Diego Freeway, the city of San Fernando has seen a significant demographic shift in recent years. Declining birth-rates and an aging population of middle-class Caucasians, who once dominated the area in the 1950s, has contributed to the movement into other parts of the San Fernando Valley. There has also been movement into the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys to the north. Latinos became the majority population (the largest percentage in the Greater Los Angeles area at 90 percent as of 2015). Since late 2004, the city has been going through a series of planning development projects, that can be defined as gentrification.
San Fernando is completely surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, with the districts of Sylmar to the north, Lake View Terrace to the east, Pacoima to the south, and Mission Hills to the west. It is served by the Golden State (Interstate 5), Foothill (Interstate 210), Ronald Reagan (State Route 118), and San Diego (Interstate 405) freeways.
Pick the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near San Fernando CA
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in San Fernando CA.
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