How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene School near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college'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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Catalina Foothills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Catalina Foothills AZ dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
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 opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ dental practices frequently 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 provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Catalina Foothills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check 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 college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Catalina Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 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 choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.