How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene School near Flowing Wells Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Flowing Wells AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Flowing Wells AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flowing Wells AZ dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Flowing Wells AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often 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 discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college 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. Flowing Wells AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Flowing Wells AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way 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 create professional relationships in the Flowing Wells AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Flowing Wells AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training 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 Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Flowing Wells AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Flowing Wells AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course 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 numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona.