How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Fairfax California
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Fairfax CA is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fairfax CA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fairfax CA dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fairfax CA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for 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 online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fairfax CA, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fairfax CA employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fairfax CA dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. 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 establish professional relationships in the Fairfax CA dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fairfax CA dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Fairfax CA dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fairfax CA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Fairfax 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Fairfax CA?
Fairfax is an incorporated town in Marin County, California, United States. Fairfax is located 3.25 miles (5.2 km) west-northwest of San Rafael, at an elevation of 115 feet (35 m). The population is 7,441 at the 2010 census. Fairfax is the only town in America that holds a Green Party majority in the town council.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Fairfax had a population of 7,441. The population density was 3,376.9 people per square mile (1,303.8/km²). The racial makeup of Fairfax was 6,617 (88.9%) White, 110 (1.5%) African American, 36 (0.5%) Native American, 204 (2.7%) Asian, 4 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 174 (2.3%) from other races, and 296 (4.0%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 504 persons (6.8%).
There were 3,379 households, out of which 939 (27.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 1,422 (42.1%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 319 (9.4%) had a female householder with no husband present, 134 (4.0%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 267 (7.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 52 (1.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 1,076 households (31.8%) were made up of individuals and 320 (9.5%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20. There were 1,875 families (55.5% of all households); the average family size was 2.77.
The population was spread out with 1,436 people (19.3%) under the age of 18, 342 people (4.6%) aged 18 to 24, 1,806 people (24.3%) aged 25 to 44, 2,907 people (39.1%) aged 45 to 64, and 950 people (12.8%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.9 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Fairfax CA
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fairfax CA.
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