How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene College near Cottonwood Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Cottonwood AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Cottonwood AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Cottonwood AZ dental offices are generally 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 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for getting 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 via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cottonwood AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cottonwood AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school 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 going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Cottonwood AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough 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, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Cottonwood AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Cottonwood AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Cottonwood AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Cottonwood AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Cottonwood AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Cottonwood Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative 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 a number of alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly 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 obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cottonwood Arizona.