How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College near Flowing Wells Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program 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 assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as 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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss 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 duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Flowing Wells AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flowing Wells AZ dental practices are generally required to hold 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 almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind 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 accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Flowing Wells AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
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 covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Flowing Wells AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers adequate 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Flowing Wells AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Flowing Wells AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Flowing Wells AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting 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 program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona.