How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Cave Creek Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Cave Creek AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Cave Creek AZ dental offices are often required to have 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. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Cave Creek AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option 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 start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Cave Creek AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Cave Creek AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 Cave Creek AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Cave Creek AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find 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 need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Cave Creek AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Cave Creek Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course 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 a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking 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.