How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Santa Cruz California
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Santa Cruz CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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 in support of the Santa Cruz CA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Santa Cruz CA dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Santa Cruz CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Santa Cruz CA, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Santa Cruz CA employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers enough 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, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Santa Cruz CA dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Santa Cruz CA dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Santa Cruz CA dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost 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 colleges and whether 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Santa Cruz CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Santa Cruz CA at nights 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 policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Santa Cruz CA?
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz (/ˈsæntə ˈkruːz/, Spanish: Holy Cross) is the county seat and largest city of Santa Cruz County, California. As of 2013 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Santa Cruz's population at 62,864.
Situated on the northern edge of Monterey Bay, about 32 mi (51 km) south of San Jose and 75 mi (120 km) south of San Francisco, the city is part of the 12-county San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland Combined Statistical Area.
Santa Cruz is known for its moderate climate, natural environment, coastline, redwood forests, alternative community lifestyles, and socially liberal leanings. It is also home to the University of California, Santa Cruz, a premier research institution and educational hub, as well as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, an oceanfront amusement park operating continuously since 1907.
The present-day site of Santa Cruz was the location of Spanish settlement beginning in 1791, including Mission Santa Cruz and the pueblo of Branciforte. Following the Mexican–American War of 1846–48, California became the 31st state in 1850. The City of Santa Cruz was incorporated in 1866 and chartered in April 1876. Important early industries included lumber, gunpowder, lime and agriculture. Late in the 19th century, Santa Cruz established itself as a beach resort community.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Santa Cruz CA
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential 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 many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Santa Cruz CA.
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