How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist School near Doney Park Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Doney Park AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, such as the program'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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job 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 assists the Doney Park AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters 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. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 examinations. Once 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 Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Doney Park AZ dental practices are normally 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Doney Park AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Doney Park AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Doney Park AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Doney Park AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Doney Park AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Doney Park AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Doney Park AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers 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 in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Doney Park Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining 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 ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Doney Park Arizona.