How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene College near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including 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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Catalina Foothills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Training Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Catalina Foothills AZ dental offices are usually required to have 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 almost 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like 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 Catalina Foothills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get 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 create professional relationships in the Catalina Foothills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 Catalina Foothills AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Catalina Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial 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 a number of alternatives available to obtain your education 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.