How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze 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 program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bullhead City AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bullhead City AZ dental practices are often 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bullhead City AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bullhead City AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find 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 school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Bullhead City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish 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 options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.