How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Avondale Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Avondale AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze 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 crucial issues to consider as well, including 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 finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing 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 job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Avondale AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Avondale AZ dental offices are generally required to hold 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 community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. 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 dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Avondale AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Points 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 programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Avondale AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Avondale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Avondale AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avondale AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Avondale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Avondale AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Avondale Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.