How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School near Catalina Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Catalina AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as 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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover 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 available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Catalina AZ dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Catalina AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For 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 practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Catalina AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Catalina AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Catalina AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Catalina Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your training 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Arizona.