How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Bisbee Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Bisbee AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the program'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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bisbee AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bisbee AZ dental practices are usually 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 complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bisbee AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bisbee AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bisbee AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bisbee AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bisbee AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Bisbee AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bisbee AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Bisbee AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Bisbee Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bisbee Arizona.