How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College near Casas Adobes Arizona
Choosing the right 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 evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Casas Adobes AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast 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 two to as long as three years to complete 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Casas Adobes AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casas Adobes AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Casas Adobes AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? 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 associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Casas Adobes AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Casas Adobes AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Casas Adobes AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Casas Adobes AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Casas Adobes AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Casas Adobes Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential 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 several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casas Adobes Arizona.