How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist School near Cave Creek Arizona
Choosing the right 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 choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier 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 evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensure exams. Once 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 Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Cave Creek AZ dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cave Creek AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Cave Creek AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Cave Creek AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get 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 build professional relationships in the Cave Creek AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Cave Creek AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Cave Creek AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Cave Creek AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Cave Creek AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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.
Pick the Best Cave Creek Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative 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 several options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cave Creek Arizona.