How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Elk Grove California
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Elk Grove CA is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns 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 duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Elk Grove CA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Elk Grove CA dental offices are normally required to have 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 trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Elk Grove CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Elk Grove CA, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Elk Grove CA employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Elk Grove CA dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Elk Grove CA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Elk Grove CA dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Elk Grove CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Elk Grove CA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Elk Grove CA?
Elk Grove, California
Elk Grove is a city in Sacramento County, California, located just south of the state capital of Sacramento. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2015, the population of the city was estimated at 167,965. The second-largest city in Sacramento County, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the U.S. between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005.
Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga entered the region in 1808, naming the valley "Sacramento Valley" in honor of Sacramento, the Holy Sacrament in Spanish, giving the northerly city of Sacramento of which Elk Grove is a suburb its name. A writer on Moraga's expedition wrote of the region: "Canopies of oaks and cottonwoods, many festooned with grapevines, overhung both sides of the blue current. Birds chattered in the trees and big fish darted through the pellucid depths. The air was like champagne, and (the Spaniards) drank deep of it, drank in the beauty around them."
Elk Grove was founded in 1850 as a stage stop for travelers coming from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, when the Elk Grove Hotel and Stage Stop was opened by James Hall and the town was subsequently named after it. In 1868 the Western Division of the Central Pacific Railroad came through about a mile east of Elk Grove. At this new location another hotel was built to accommodate travelers and was also named the Elk Grove Hotel.
In the following decades, Elk Grove remained a small farming community with little urban development. In the late 1980s, suburban development projects began to spring up around the community, specifically in the north near Sacramento. This was meant to serve Sacramento's population as well as San Francisco commuters looking for a community relatively near the San Francisco Bay Area which they could settle in and still commute from. This set off a period of rapid suburban growth which peaked in the years 2004 and 2005 when Elk Grove was declared the fastest growing city in the US.
Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Elk Grove CA
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to receive your training 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to 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 appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Elk Grove CA.
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