How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Gold Canyon Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Gold Canyon AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Gold Canyon AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. 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 Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Gold Canyon AZ dental offices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Gold Canyon AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gold Canyon 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 location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gold Canyon AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Gold Canyon AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Gold Canyon AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Gold Canyon AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length 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 come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gold Canyon AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Gold Canyon 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 issues.
Choose the Best Gold Canyon Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gold Canyon Arizona.