How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program near El Mirage Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near El Mirage AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about 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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Mirage AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching 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 El Mirage AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, 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 amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, 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 Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring 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 have 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best El Mirage Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.