How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Avondale Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Avondale AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, such as the program'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 finish. Obviously with the lengthier 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 programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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 an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Avondale AZ dental practices are normally 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 almost 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Avondale AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like 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 clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Avondale AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, 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 establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Avondale AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in 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, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Avondale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement 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 profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, 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 instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Avondale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Avondale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Avondale Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing 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 we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.