How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at 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 comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably 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 supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After 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 Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fortuna Foothills AZ dental offices are normally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program 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. Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides sufficient 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, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out 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 instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask 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 confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is essential 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 a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.