How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist 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 selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via 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 a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. 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 necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Flowing Wells AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Flowing Wells AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Flowing Wells AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Flowing Wells AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large 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 Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private 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 comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Flowing Wells AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Flowing Wells AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential 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 a number of options offered to obtain your training 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona.