How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Casa Grande Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Casa Grande AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program'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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly 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, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Casa Grande AZ dental offices 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 nearly 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion 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 college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casa Grande AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Casa Grande AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Casa Grande AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Casa Grande AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large 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 experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Casa Grande AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Casa Grande Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education 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 normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona.