How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near El Cerrito California
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near El Cerrito CA is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the college’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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the El Cerrito CA practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in El Cerrito CA dental offices are normally required to have 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 almost 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 aspect to the training as well| Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your El Cerrito CA home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Cerrito CA, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. El Cerrito CA employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like 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 El Cerrito CA dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. 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 build professional relationships in the El Cerrito CA dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the El Cerrito CA dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the El Cerrito CA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to 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 El Cerrito CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near El Cerrito CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near El Cerrito CA?
El Cerrito, California
El Cerrito is a city in Contra Costa County, California, United States, and forms part of the San Francisco Bay Area. It has a population of 23,549 according to the 2010 census. El Cerrito was founded by refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was incorporated in 1917 as a village with 1500 residents. As of the census in 2000, there were 23,171 people, 10,208 households and 5971 families in the city. The top 20 employers in the city, according to the 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, include such entities as the West Contra Costa Unified School District, City of El Cerrito, Lucky Stores, Pastime ACE Hardware, and Honda of El Cerrito.
El Cerrito was founded by refugees from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. They settled in what was then Don Víctor Castro's Rancho San Pablo, and adjacent to the ranch owned by the family of Luís María Peralta, the Rancho San Antonio. A post office opened at the settlement in 1909 and the refugee camp became known as Rust, after Wilhelm F. Rust, its first postmaster. The village's residents did not care for the name and changed it to El Cerrito in 1916. A year later, El Cerrito was incorporated as a village with 1,500 residents. The name means "little hill" or knoll.
El Cerrito is located on the eastern shore of San Francisco Bay. The hilly areas of El Cerrito provide views of its neighboring city, and of the Golden Gate Bridge. El Cerrito is located along Interstate 80, and nearby Interstate 580. The city is less than 30 miles from two major airports. El Cerrito is bordered by Albany and Kensington to the south, the Richmond annex to the west, East Richmond Heights to the north, and Wildcat Canyon Regional Park to the east. Local landmark Albany Hill is in Albany, just across the border with El Cerrito. (El Cerrito—Spanish, "the little hill"—takes its name from Albany Hill.) The Hayward Fault runs through El Cerrito. In addition, El Cerrito is within 150 meters (490 feet) of Berkeley to the southeast.
The city's primary transportation infrastructure consists of the El Cerrito Plaza and El Cerrito del Norte BART stations, along with several local bus lines operated by AC Transit, providing access to the surrounding area and the nearby cities of Albany, Berkeley and Richmond. In addition to this local service, El Cerrito is also served by AC Transit's transbay buses to the San Francisco Transbay Terminal, as well as its late night service from the del Norte station through Richmond, San Pablo, and Pinole, and one of the All Nighter routes, which follows the Richmond-Millbrae BART line. FAST, Golden Gate Transit, Vallejo Transit, Napa VINE, and WestCat provide feeder service between the del Norte station and elsewhere in Contra Costa County and the North Bay.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist School near El Cerrito CA
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Cerrito CA.
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