How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Avra Valley Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Avra Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Avra Valley 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Avra Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. 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 often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
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 covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Avra Valley AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school 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 considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain 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 professional relationships in the Avra Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at 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 Avra Valley AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avra Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Avra Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Avra Valley AZ at nights 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 policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Avra Valley Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avra Valley Arizona.