How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Golden Valley Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Golden Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. 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 frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via 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 classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Golden Valley AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make 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 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 prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Golden Valley AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Golden Valley AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Golden Valley AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Golden Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make 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 selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Golden Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Golden Valley Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education 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 typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Golden Valley Arizona.