How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Casa Grande AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college'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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Casa Grande 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 teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Casa Grande AZ dental practices are generally 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 virtually 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Casa Grande AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. 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 receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casa Grande AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Casa Grande AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate 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, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Casa Grande AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Casa Grande AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Casa Grande AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Casa Grande AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm 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 Casa Grande AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Casa Grande Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right 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 you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona.