How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Flowing Wells Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Flowing Wells AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flowing Wells AZ dental practices are usually required to have 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 virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. 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 dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Flowing Wells AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus 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 an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain 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 right choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 guarantee that the education 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 schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Flowing Wells AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask 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 college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Flowing Wells AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need 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 work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training 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 typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared 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.