How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Fountain Hills Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Fountain Hills AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the school'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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Fountain Hills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fountain Hills AZ dental offices are generally required to have 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fountain Hills AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means 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 professional relationships in the Fountain Hills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Fountain Hills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.