How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College near Golden Valley Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Golden Valley AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as 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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Golden Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out 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
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Golden Valley AZ dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Golden Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Golden Valley AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Golden Valley AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Golden Valley AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Golden Valley AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Golden Valley AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Golden Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense 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 variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Golden Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Golden Valley 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Golden Valley Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Golden Valley Arizona.