How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Longmont Colorado
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Longmont CO is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Longmont CO practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can 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 Longmont CO dental practices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Longmont CO home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Longmont CO, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Longmont CO employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers sufficient 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Longmont CO dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Longmont CO dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Longmont CO dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Longmont CO dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Longmont CO area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Longmont CO at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Longmont CO?
The City of Longmont is a Home Rule Municipality in Boulder and Weld counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. Longmont is located northeast of the county seat of Boulder and 33 miles (53 km) north-northwest of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver.
Longmont was founded in 1871 by a group of people from Chicago, Illinois. Originally called the Chicago-Colorado Colony, the men sold memberships in the town and with the proceeds purchased the land necessary for the town hall. As the first planned community in Boulder County, the city streets were laid out in a grid plan in a square mile. The city began to flourish as an agricultural community after the building of the Colorado Central Railroad line arrived northward from Boulder in 1877. During the 1940s, Longmont began to grow beyond these original limits.
During the 1960s the federal government built an air route traffic control center in Longmont, and IBM built a manufacturing and development campus near Longmont. As agriculture waned, more high technology has come to the city, including companies like Seagate and Amgen; Amgen closed its Longmont campus in 2015. In April 2009, the GE Energy Company relocated its control solutions business to the area.
The downtown along Main Street, once nearly dead during the 1980s, has seen a vibrant revival in the 1990s and into the 21st century. During the mid-1990s, the southern edge of Longmont became the location of the first New Urbanist project in Colorado, called Prospect New Town, designed by the architects Andrés Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Longmont CO
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 a number of options offered to obtain 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 generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Longmont CO.
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