How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School near El Mirage Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near El Mirage AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the El Mirage AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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. After 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 Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in El Mirage AZ dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, 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 supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Mirage AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school 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 school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to obtain 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost 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 variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near El Mirage AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required 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 issues.
Pick the Best El Mirage Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.