How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist College near Gilbert Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Gilbert AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Gilbert AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each 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 can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once 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 increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Gilbert AZ dental practices are normally required to have 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 nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Gilbert AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gilbert AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gilbert AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental office that focuses on 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 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 create professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gilbert AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Gilbert AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Gilbert Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona.