How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Glendale Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Glendale AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, 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. Naturally 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 programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Glendale AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glendale AZ dental practices are often 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glendale AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glendale AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way 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 develop professional relationships in the Glendale AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glendale AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, 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 amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Glendale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Glendale Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your education 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.