How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Glendale Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Glendale AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive 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 schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Glendale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work 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 report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glendale AZ dental practices are generally required to hold 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 virtually 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Glendale AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale AZ, you can begin the process 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 colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Glendale AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 Glendale AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glendale AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Glendale AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Glendale AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Glendale Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.