How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Coolidge Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Coolidge AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Coolidge AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each 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 duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- 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 licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Coolidge AZ dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Coolidge AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Coolidge AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at 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 College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Coolidge AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Coolidge AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get 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 professional relationships in the Coolidge AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Coolidge AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Coolidge AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs 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, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Coolidge AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Coolidge AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Coolidge Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Coolidge Arizona.