How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Chino Valley Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Chino Valley AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the program'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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Chino Valley AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chino Valley AZ dental practices are normally 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chino Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chino Valley AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 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. Chino Valley AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chino Valley AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Chino Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chino Valley AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at 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, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Chino Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chino Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Chino Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical 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 issues.
Pick the Best Chino Valley Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chino Valley Arizona.