How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College near Coolidge Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Coolidge AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer 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 schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role 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 in support of the Coolidge AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Coolidge AZ dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Coolidge AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Coolidge AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Coolidge AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Coolidge AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Coolidge AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Coolidge AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Coolidge AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Coolidge AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have 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 clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Coolidge Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 several 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Coolidge Arizona.