How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School near Avondale Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Avondale AZ is an important first step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Avondale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Avondale AZ dental offices are generally required to have 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Avondale AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Avondale AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools 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 final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Avondale AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately 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 Avondale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Avondale AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avondale AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Avondale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Avondale AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Avondale Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.