How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School near Douglas Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Douglas AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually 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 cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Douglas AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Douglas AZ dental practices are often 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 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Douglas AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Douglas AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look 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 programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, 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. Douglas AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Douglas AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Douglas AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Douglas AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Douglas AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Douglas AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Douglas AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Douglas Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided 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 Douglas Arizona.