How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Fortuna Foothills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practices 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 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach 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 ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish 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 want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills 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 particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish 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 acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.