How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Drexel Heights Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Drexel Heights AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged 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 schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Drexel Heights AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may 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
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may 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 Drexel Heights AZ dental offices are normally 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 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Drexel Heights AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually 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 appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Drexel Heights AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Check 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 Drexel Heights AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Drexel Heights AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. 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 better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.