How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Goodyear Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Goodyear AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Goodyear AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Goodyear AZ dental offices are generally required to have 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 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. 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 education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component 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 continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Goodyear AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Goodyear AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Goodyear AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Goodyear Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.