How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Coolidge Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Coolidge AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Coolidge AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Coolidge AZ dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Coolidge AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Coolidge AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges 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 right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Coolidge AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Coolidge AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Coolidge AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Coolidge AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Coolidge AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Coolidge AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Coolidge Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Coolidge Arizona.