How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Catalina Foothills AZ dentists and the practice. 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 area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After 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 Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Catalina Foothills AZ dental offices are normally 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 finish 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed 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 provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Catalina Foothills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want 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 offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively 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 usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.