How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College near Gold Canyon Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Gold Canyon AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing 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 significant factors to consider also, for instance the program'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 finish. Naturally 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 programs you are evaluating 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 comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly 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 supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Gold Canyon AZ dental offices 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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 Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest 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 working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gold Canyon AZ, you can start 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. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gold Canyon AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college 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? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 Gold Canyon AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Gold Canyon AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Gold Canyon AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered 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 must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Gold Canyon AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Gold Canyon Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gold Canyon Arizona.