How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Catalina Foothills AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to 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 residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors 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 roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Catalina Foothills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Catalina Foothills AZ dental offices are usually 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 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing 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 college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction 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 programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense 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 schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Catalina Foothills 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 protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.