How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Cottonwood Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Cottonwood AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the school'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Cottonwood AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cottonwood AZ dental practices are often required to hold 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 vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Cottonwood AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cottonwood AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, 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. Cottonwood AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 select offers clinical rotation in a local Cottonwood AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal 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 develop professional relationships in the Cottonwood AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Cottonwood AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Cottonwood AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Cottonwood AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Cottonwood AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Cottonwood Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cottonwood Arizona.