How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Corona De Tucson AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job 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 in support of the Corona De Tucson AZ dentists and the practice. 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 sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding 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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Corona De Tucson AZ dental offices are usually 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Corona De Tucson AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional 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 clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Corona De Tucson AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Corona De Tucson AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Corona De Tucson AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, practical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Corona De Tucson AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Corona De Tucson AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Corona De Tucson AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Corona De Tucson AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Corona De Tucson Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Corona De Tucson Arizona.