How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Florence Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Florence AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, 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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing 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 comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Florence AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Florence AZ dental practices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Florence AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Florence AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Florence AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Florence AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Florence AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Florence AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based 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 public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Florence AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Florence AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Florence Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona.