How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Casas Adobes Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Casas Adobes AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing 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 comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Casas Adobes AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as 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 additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Casas Adobes 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Casas Adobes AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casas Adobes AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Casas Adobes AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient 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, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Casas Adobes AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Casas Adobes AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Casas Adobes AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Casas Adobes AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Casas Adobes Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casas Adobes Arizona.