How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Doney Park Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Doney Park AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Doney Park AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first 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
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Doney Park AZ dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Doney Park AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Doney Park AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Doney Park AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Doney Park AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Doney Park AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Doney Park AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Doney Park AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Doney Park AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Doney Park AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Doney Park Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is important 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 many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position 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.