How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Cave Creek Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Cave Creek AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Cave Creek AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cave Creek AZ dental practices 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 finish 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Cave Creek AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cave Creek AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at 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 best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cave Creek AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Cave Creek AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Cave Creek AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Cave Creek AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Cave Creek AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Cave Creek AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm 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 have to attend classes near Cave Creek AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Cave Creek Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cave Creek Arizona.