How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Arizona City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Arizona City AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Arizona City AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Arizona City AZ dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. 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 via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Arizona City AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Arizona City AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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. Arizona City AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Arizona City AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Arizona City AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Arizona City AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 examining the cost of programs, 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 loans, grants and scholarships in the Arizona City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Arizona City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Arizona City Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose 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 better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Arizona City Arizona.