How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Cottonwood Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Cottonwood AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations 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 duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Cottonwood AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Cottonwood AZ dental offices are generally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option 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 provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cottonwood AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Cottonwood AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Cottonwood AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like 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 Cottonwood AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Cottonwood AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Cottonwood AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Cottonwood AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Cottonwood AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Cottonwood Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cottonwood Arizona.