How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Buckeye Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Buckeye AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Buckeye AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. 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 Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Buckeye AZ dental practices are often 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 virtually 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Buckeye AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Buckeye AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Buckeye AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Buckeye AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Buckeye AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Buckeye AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Buckeye 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 fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Buckeye AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Buckeye Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course 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 several alternatives available to acquire 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Buckeye Arizona.