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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Golden Valley Arizona

Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienist examining man's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Golden Valley AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the school'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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienist checking boy's teeth

When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Golden Valley AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:

    • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
    • Instructing patients regarding oral care
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Degree Options

Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienist checking female patient's teethDue to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Golden Valley AZ dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.

Dental Hygienist Online Colleges

Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Golden Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.

Learn More About Golden Valley Dental Hygiene Degree Programs

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

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 start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation 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 college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Golden Valley AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate 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, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Golden Valley AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Golden Valley AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Golden Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out 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 hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Golden Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have 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 work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Golden Valley Dental Hygienist Courses

smile with clean teeth by Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienistChoosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed.  As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Golden Valley Arizona.

 

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