How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College near Apache Junction Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Apache Junction AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program'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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
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 in support of the Apache Junction AZ 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 encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Exam 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 additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Apache Junction AZ dental practices are often 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Apache Junction AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Apache Junction AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Apache Junction AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Apache Junction AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Apache Junction AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Apache Junction AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Apache Junction AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Apache Junction AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Apache Junction Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona.