How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Catalina Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Catalina AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college'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 explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role 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 Catalina AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensure examinations. When 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 employed in Catalina AZ dental practices are usually 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 finish 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Catalina AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Catalina AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose 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, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive 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 professional relationships in the Catalina AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching 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 AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Catalina AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Catalina AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Catalina AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Catalina Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, 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 education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Arizona.