How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Chinle Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Chinle AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties 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 in support of the Chinle AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform 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 regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chinle AZ dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Chinle AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chinle AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Chinle AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Chinle AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chinle AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Chinle AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chinle AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? 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 especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Chinle AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Chinle Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chinle Arizona.