How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene College near Bisbee Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Bisbee AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
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 Bisbee AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered 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 Bisbee AZ dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Bisbee 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 charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bisbee AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bisbee AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Bisbee AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain 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 Bisbee AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bisbee AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Bisbee AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bisbee AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Bisbee AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Bisbee Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to 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 appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bisbee Arizona.