How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Glendale Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Glendale AZ is an important first step toward beginning 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 school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. 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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Glendale AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Glendale AZ dental practices are generally required to have 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 almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Glendale AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied 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 several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glendale AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Glendale AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Glendale AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ 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 private or public also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Glendale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Glendale Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many 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 typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.