How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bullhead City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Bullhead City AZ dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bullhead City AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bullhead City AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish 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 kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools 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 Bullhead City AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent 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 in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Bullhead City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.