How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Flowing Wells Arizona
Selecting the ideal 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 need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school 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 program's reputation and accreditation. 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. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Flowing Wells AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can 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 employed in Flowing Wells AZ dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option 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 rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Flowing Wells AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college 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. Flowing Wells AZ dental practices typically 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 obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative 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. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Flowing Wells AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Flowing Wells AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Flowing Wells AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Flowing Wells AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona.