How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Goodyear Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Goodyear AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of 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 often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Goodyear AZ dental practices are normally 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 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
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Subjects 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 covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. 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 Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Goodyear AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out 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 teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Goodyear AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Goodyear Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program 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 several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.