How to Select a Dental Hygienist College near Los Alamos New Mexico
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Los Alamos NM is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, including the program’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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should 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 offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Los Alamos NM practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Los Alamos NM dental practices are often 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical aspect to the training as well| A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely 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 Los Alamos NM 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 accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Los Alamos NM, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Los Alamos NM employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Los Alamos NM dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive 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 Los Alamos NM dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Los Alamos NM dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Los Alamos NM dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based 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 besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Los Alamos NM area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Los Alamos NM at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Los Alamos NM?
Los Alamos, New Mexico
Los Alamos (Spanish: Los Álamos, meaning "The Cottonwoods" or "The Poplars") is a town in Los Alamos County, New Mexico, United States that is recognized as the birthplace of the atomic bomb––the primary objective of the Manhattan Project by Los Alamos National Laboratory during World War II. The town is located on four mesas of the Pajarito Plateau, and has a population of 12,019. It is the county seat and one of two population centers in the county known as census-designated places (CDPs); the other is White Rock.
Los Alamos is built on the Pajarito Plateau between White Rock Canyon and the Valles Caldera. The first settlers on the plateau are thought to be Keres speaking Native Americans around the 10th century. Around 1300, Tewa settlers immigrated from the Four Corners Region and built large cities but were driven out within 50 years by Navajo and Apache raids and by drought. Both the Keres and Tewa towns can be seen today in the ruins of Bandelier National Monument and Tsankawi.
The land of the plateau was then divided up for homesteading. Most residents of the plateau built simple log cabins that they only lived in during warm weather to feed livestock, with the homesteaders moving down to the warmer Rio Grande Valley. Homesteader Harold H. Brook sold part of his land and buildings to Detroit businessman Ashley Pond II in 1917 which began the Los Alamos Ranch School, named after the aspen trees that blossomed in the spring.
In 1942, during World War II, the Department of War began looking for a remote location for the Manhattan Project. The school was closed when the government used its power of eminent domain to take over the Ranch School and all the remaining homestead that same year. The Ranch School was paid $225 per acre; the homesteaders were paid between $7 and $15 per acre. All information about the town was highly classified until the bombing of Hiroshima.
Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Los Alamos NM
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Los Alamos NM.
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