How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Fountain Hills Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Fountain Hills AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. 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 interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fountain Hills AZ dental practices are generally 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 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like 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 get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fountain Hills AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in 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 considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Fountain Hills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.