How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist School near Chandler Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Chandler AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chandler AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chandler AZ dental offices 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 nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Chandler AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Points 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 programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chandler AZ dental practices typically prefer 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 provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Chandler AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Chandler Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important 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 many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.