How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Chandler Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Chandler AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance 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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chandler AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chandler AZ dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind 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 by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chandler AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make 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 Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Chandler AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most 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 ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real 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 Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Chandler AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Chandler Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.