How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist College near Bakersfield California
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Bakersfield CA is an essential first step toward launching 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial 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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bakersfield CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bakersfield CA dental offices are usually 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bakersfield CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bakersfield CA, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bakersfield CA employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select 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, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Bakersfield CA dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 form professional relationships in the Bakersfield CA dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bakersfield CA dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Bakersfield CA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bakersfield CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Bakersfield CA at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Bakersfield CA?
Bakersfield is a city in and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles (370 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is approximately 365,000, making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of approximately 464,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices. The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.
Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years. The Yokuts lived in lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley. The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
In 1862, disastrous floods swept away the original settlement founded in 1860 by the German-born Christian Bohna. Among those attracted to the area by the California gold rush was Thomas Baker, a lawyer and former colonel in the militia of Ohio, his home state. Baker moved to the banks of the Kern River in 1863, at what became known as Baker's Field, which became a stopover for travelers. By 1870, with a population of 600, what is now known as Bakersfield was becoming the principal town in Kern County.
Pick the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Bakersfield CA
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bakersfield CA.
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