How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College near Glendale Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Glendale AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Glendale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Glendale AZ dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Glendale AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glendale AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glendale AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Glendale AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Glendale AZ at nights 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 because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Glendale Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.