How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Avondale Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Avondale AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job 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 Avondale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work 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 each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Avondale AZ dental offices are normally 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Avondale AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. 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 lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Avondale AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate 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 choose an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Avondale AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Avondale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Avondale AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avondale AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. 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 programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Avondale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Avondale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Avondale Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.