How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Goodyear Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Goodyear AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Goodyear AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Goodyear AZ dental offices are often 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach 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 right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Goodyear AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Goodyear AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Goodyear AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Goodyear AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Goodyear Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.