How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Goodyear Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Goodyear AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Goodyear 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 interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing 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 Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Goodyear AZ dental practices are usually required to hold 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 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, 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 best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Goodyear AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method 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 create professional relationships in the Goodyear AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Goodyear AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Goodyear AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Goodyear Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.