How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Bullhead City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the school'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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Bullhead City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 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. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional 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 2 to as long as 3 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bullhead City AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bullhead City AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Bullhead City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal 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 you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to 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 selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.