How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Chinle Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Chinle AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Chinle AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chinle AZ dental offices are normally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chinle AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many 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 often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chinle AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chinle AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like 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 Chinle AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chinle AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Chinle AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount 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 in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chinle AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Chinle AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chinle Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chinle Arizona.