How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Apache Junction Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Apache Junction AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job 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 Apache Junction AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may 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 employed in Apache Junction AZ dental offices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Apache Junction AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed 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 furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Apache Junction AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Apache Junction AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Apache Junction AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Apache Junction AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Apache Junction AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Apache Junction AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Apache Junction AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Apache Junction Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona.