How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near El Mirage Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the El Mirage AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in El Mirage AZ dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often 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 discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Mirage AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately 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 El Mirage AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get 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 form professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly 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 choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best El Mirage Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.