How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School near Casa Grande Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Casa Grande AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Casa Grande AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually 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 perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled 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 added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Casa Grande AZ dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Casa Grande AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional 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 required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casa Grande AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Casa Grande AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Casa Grande AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Casa Grande AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Casa Grande AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Casa Grande AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Casa Grande AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Casa Grande Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right 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 amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect 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 best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona.