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How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist School near Doney Park Arizona

Doney Park Arizona dental hygienist cleaning patient's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Doney Park AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Doney Park Arizona dental hygienist checking boy's teeth

When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists 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 frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:

    • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Teaching patients regarding oral care
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Education Options

Doney Park Arizona dental hygienist examining woman's teethBecause of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Doney Park AZ dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Dental Hygienist Online Colleges

Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Doney Park AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.

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Issues to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

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 begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial factors 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. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Doney Park AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Doney Park AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Doney Park AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Doney Park AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Doney Park AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate 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 school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Doney Park Dental Hygienist Training

smile with white teeth by Doney Park Arizona dental hygienistPicking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed.  As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Doney Park Arizona.

 

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