How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Cave Creek Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Cave Creek AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 in support of the Cave Creek AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cave Creek AZ dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cave Creek AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cave Creek AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important 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. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cave Creek AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Cave Creek AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method 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 create professional relationships in the Cave Creek AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Cave Creek AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of 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 instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be 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 enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Cave Creek AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Cave Creek Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cave Creek Arizona.