How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Doney Park Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Doney Park AZ is an essential initial step toward starting 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 college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Doney Park AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work 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 room. 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Doney Park AZ dental practices are normally 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 almost 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Doney Park AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Doney Park AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach 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 ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Doney Park AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Doney Park AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching 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 Doney Park AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Doney Park AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to 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 fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Doney Park AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Doney Park AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 Doney Park Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Doney Park Arizona.