How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene School near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an important first step toward starting 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 performing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Fortuna Foothills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination 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, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fortuna Foothills AZ dental offices are usually 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at 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 college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out 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 community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course 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 many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.