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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Golden Valley Arizona

Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienist examining man's teethChoosing the right dental hygienist program near Golden Valley AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienist cleaning boy's teeth

When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant 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 supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:

    • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
    • Applying fluoride treatments
    • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
    • Teaching patients about oral hygiene
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Education Options

Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienist checking woman's teethAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared 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 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 vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Schools

Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Golden Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.

Learn More About Golden Valley Dental Hygienist Degree Programs

Topics to Ask 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 discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school 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 frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Golden Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Golden Valley AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Golden Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Golden Valley AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Golden Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Golden Valley Dental Hygienist Training

great smile with white teeth by Golden Valley Arizona dental hygienistPicking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 numerous options available 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Golden Valley Arizona.

 

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