How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Golden Valley Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Golden Valley AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as 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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
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 assists the Golden Valley AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed 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 in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Golden Valley AZ dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Golden Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Golden Valley AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Golden Valley AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Golden Valley AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 build professional relationships in the Golden Valley AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing 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 Golden Valley AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Golden Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Golden Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Golden Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Golden Valley Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative 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 obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Golden Valley Arizona.