How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Grand Junction Colorado
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Grand Junction CO is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Grand Junction CO dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Grand Junction CO dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 practical component to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Grand Junction CO home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Grand Junction CO, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing 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 ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify 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. Grand Junction CO employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Grand Junction CO dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Grand Junction CO dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Grand Junction CO dental hygienist college 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 training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Grand Junction CO area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Grand Junction CO at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Grand Junction CO?
Grand Junction, Colorado
The city of Grand Junction is the home rule municipality that is the county seat and the most populous municipality of Mesa County, Colorado, United States. The city has a council–manager form of government, and is the most populous municipality in all of western Colorado. Grand Junction is situated 247 miles (398 km) west-southwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 58,566. Grand Junction is the 15th most populous city in the state of Colorado and the most populous city on the Colorado Western Slope. Grand Junction serves as a major commercial and transportation hub within the large area between the Green River and the Continental Divide. It is the principal city of the Grand Junction Metropolitan Statistical Area which had a population of 146,723 in 2010 census.
The city is located along the Colorado River, at its confluence with the Gunnison River which comes in from the south. The name "Grand" refers to the historical Grand River; it was renamed as the Upper Colorado River in 1921. The word "Junction" refers to the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison rivers. Grand Junction has been nicknamed "River City". The city is located near the midpoint of a 30-mile (48 km) arcing valley, known as the Grand Valley; since the late 19th century it has been a major fruit-growing region. Historically the valley was long occupied by the Ute people and by earlier indigenous cultures. It was not settled by white European-American farmers until the 1880s. Since the late 20th century, several wineries have been established in the area.
The Colorado National Monument, a unique series of canyons and mesas, overlooks the city on the west. Most of the area is surrounded by federal public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management. The Book Cliffs are a prominent series of cliffs that define the northern side of the Grand Valley. Interstate 70 connects the city eastward to Glenwood Springs and Denver and westward to Green River, Utah; Salt Lake City is reached to the west via Interstate 70 and U.S Route 6; and Las Vegas (via Interstate 70 and Interstate 15).
The Country Jam Ranch is located near Grand Junction just north of I-70 at the Mack exit. This is a permanent festival site built for music festivals, including Country Jam. This event has been held annually since 1992, drawing thousands of country music fans to the area.
Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Grand Junction CO
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Grand Junction CO.
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