How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Fort Mohave Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Fort Mohave AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically 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 cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Fort Mohave AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fort Mohave 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 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Fort Mohave AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced 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 needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fort Mohave AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided 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 College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fort Mohave AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Fort Mohave AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way 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 develop professional relationships in the Fort Mohave AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fort Mohave AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Fort Mohave AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fort Mohave AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Fort Mohave AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Fort Mohave Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course 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 alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fort Mohave Arizona.