How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College near Fountain Hills Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Fountain Hills AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. 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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fountain Hills AZ dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might 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 clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fountain Hills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fountain Hills AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental office 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 means to get hands-on, clinical 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses 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 Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Fountain Hills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want 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 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend 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 best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.