How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Chino Valley Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Chino Valley AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account 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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chino Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chino Valley AZ dental practices are generally 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 virtually 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Chino Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chino Valley AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Chino Valley AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Chino Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Chino Valley AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chino Valley AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Chino Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chino Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm 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 need to attend classes near Chino Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have 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 due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Chino Valley Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend 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 options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chino Valley Arizona.