How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Fountain Valley California
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Fountain Valley CA is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fountain Valley CA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fountain Valley CA dental offices are generally 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 nearly 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 component to the training as well| Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fountain Valley CA home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Valley CA, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing 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 school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college 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. Fountain Valley CA employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Valley CA dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at 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 Fountain Valley CA dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fountain Valley CA dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fountain Valley CA area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Fountain Valley CA at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Fountain Valley CA?
Fountain Valley, California
The area encompassing Fountain Valley was originally inhabited by the Tongva people. European settlement of the area began when Manuel Nieto was granted the land for Rancho Los Nietos, which encompassed over 300,000 acres (1,200 km2), including present-day Fountain Valley. Control of the land was subsequently transferred to Mexico upon independence from Spain, and then to the United States as part of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
The city was incorporated in 1957, before which it was known as Talbert (also as Gospel Swamps by residents). The name of Fountain Valley refers to the very high water table in the area at the time the name was chosen, and the many corresponding artesian wells in the area. Early settlers constructed drainage canals to make the land usable for agriculture, which remained the dominant use of land until the 1960s, when construction of large housing tracts accelerated. The first mayor of Fountain Valley was James Kanno, who with this appointment became the first Japanese-American mayor of a mainland United States city.
After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, there was a large influx of Vietnamese refugees settling in Fountain Valley, especially in the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s, forming a large percentage of Asian Americans in the city.
The city is located southwest and northeast of the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405), which diagonally bisects the city, and is surrounded by Huntington Beach on the south and west, Westminster and Garden Grove on the north, Santa Ana on the northeast, and Costa Mesa on the southeast. Its eastern border is the Santa Ana River.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Fountain Valley CA
Choosing the right 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 we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly 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 programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Valley CA.
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