How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Glendale Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Glendale AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college'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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Glendale AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth 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 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
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Glendale AZ dental offices are often 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Glendale AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program 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 planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Glendale AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Glendale AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good 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 Classes Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, 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 degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Glendale AZ in the evenings 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 policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Glendale Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish 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 options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position 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.