How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess 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 college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Bullhead City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bullhead City AZ dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice 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 discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bullhead City AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means 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 professional relationships in the Bullhead City AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make 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 selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Bullhead City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.