How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Casas Adobes Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Casas Adobes AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Casas Adobes AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After 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
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Casas Adobes AZ dental offices are usually 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 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Casas Adobes AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casas Adobes AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Casas Adobes AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical 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 subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Casas Adobes AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Casas Adobes AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Casas Adobes AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Casas Adobes AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure 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 must go to classes near Casas Adobes AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 Casas Adobes Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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, 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 choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casas Adobes Arizona.