How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Watsonville California
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Watsonville CA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Watsonville CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Watsonville CA dental practices are usually 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 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 dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Watsonville CA home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Watsonville CA, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Watsonville CA employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in 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 choose offers clinical rotation in a local Watsonville CA dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Watsonville CA dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Watsonville CA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Watsonville CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Watsonville CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need 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 due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Watsonville CA?
Watsonville is a city in Santa Cruz County, California, United States. The population was 51,199 according to the 2010 census. Located on the central coast of California, the economy centers predominantly around the farming industry. It is known for growing strawberries, apples, lettuce and a host of other vegetables. Watsonville is home to people of varied ethnic backgrounds. There is a large Hispanic population, as well as groups of Croatians, Portuguese, Filipino, Caucasian, Sikhs, and Japanese that live and work in the city.
The Pajaro Valley, wherein Watsonville is located, has a climate that is around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. This climate makes Watsonville an attractive coastal environment for the neighboring inland communities with very hot summers. The Pajaro Valley Unified School District has an attendance of about 18,000 students kindergarten through 12th grades. There are several private religious-based schools in Watsonville such as Notre Dame School, Monte Vista Christian, Salesian Sisters, and St. Francis. There are also several charter schools and the non-religious independent Pre-K through 12th grade Mount Madonna School. These schools provide a wide range of educational options for local families. Watsonville is generally conservative on the political spectrum, and average relative to the neighboring communities of Salinas, Castroville, and Prunedale. It is however, a self-designated sanctuary city.
The larger coastal town directly north of Watsonville is the city of Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a draw for many young college students who attend Cabrillo College or University of California, Santa Cruz. Because Watsonville and Santa Cruz are beach towns, they draw many visitors from San Jose and from the Central Valley areas. Like neighboring Salinas in Monterey County, Watsonville produces a variety of fruits and vegetables, primarily apples, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and table mushrooms.
Watsonville's land was first inhabited by an Indian tribe called the Costanoans. This tribe settled along the Pajaro Dunes since the land was fertile and useful for the cultivation of their plants and animals. In 1796, European explorers came to the land where they claimed to have seen a big bird along the side of the river, this symbol helped explorers to establish the name of the main river, which they identified as Rio del Pajaro, or River of the Bird. This river that runs along the boundaries of the city divides the Santa Cruz County and the Monterey County. In 1847, the second wave of European explorers was presented to this land where they finally decided to settle. Forty of these explorers officially lived in the city and had animals and some crops. In 1848, the gold rush in the Sierra Mountains was an important event for the city because people began to buy land for the low price that it had, allowing them to acquire large acres of property where farming and ranching would be among the simple practices that would shape the economy of the city. The community was incorporated as the Town of Watsonville on or about March 30, 1868 and named after Judge John Watson. The town changed its name to the City of Watsonville about 1889. The voters adopted a charter in 1903. The Watsonville Railway and Navigation Company operated an interurban railway to Port Watsonville on Monterey Bay where it connected with an overnight produce packet to San Francisco from 1904 to 1913.
Pick the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Watsonville CA
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Watsonville CA.
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