How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Gold Canyon Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Gold Canyon AZ is an important initial step toward launching 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 choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Gold Canyon AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Gold Canyon AZ dental offices are normally 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 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Gold Canyon AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get 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 college is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gold Canyon AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gold Canyon AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Gold Canyon AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Gold Canyon AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Gold Canyon AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Gold Canyon AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gold Canyon AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Gold Canyon AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Gold Canyon Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gold Canyon Arizona.