How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Fountain Hills Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Fountain Hills AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 cost. 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 explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fountain Hills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After 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 Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fountain Hills AZ dental offices are normally required to hold 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 almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fountain Hills AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied 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 program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fountain Hills AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Fountain Hills AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fountain Hills 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 accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Fountain Hills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 emergencies.
Pick the Right Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the ideal 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 you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.