How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Eloy Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Eloy AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Eloy AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination as well as 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 Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eloy AZ dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Eloy AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eloy AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Eloy AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Eloy AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eloy AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. 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 Eloy AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Eloy AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Eloy AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Eloy Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eloy Arizona.