How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Florence Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Florence AZ is an important initial 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 far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job 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 assists the Florence AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Florence AZ dental offices are usually 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind 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 provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Florence AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Florence AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Florence AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers 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 college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Florence AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Florence AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Florence AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Florence AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Florence AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Florence AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Florence Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona.