How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Cave Creek Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Cave Creek AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Cave Creek AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cave Creek AZ dental practices are normally 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 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 program can be a great option for obtaining 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 balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Cave Creek AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cave Creek AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Cave Creek AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Cave Creek AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining 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 probably have excellent reputations within the Cave Creek AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Cave Creek AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Cave Creek AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Cave Creek AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Cave Creek Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial 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 a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cave Creek Arizona.