How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Avra Valley Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Avra Valley AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover 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 look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Avra Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Avra Valley AZ dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Avra Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Avra Valley AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending 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 program 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. Avra Valley AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Avra Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Avra Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Avra Valley AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avra Valley 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 making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Avra Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Avra Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Avra Valley Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial 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 numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avra Valley Arizona.