How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college'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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fortuna Foothills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a great 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 accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right 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 process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? 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 particularly true if you will be working while acquiring 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 program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, 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 Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.