How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene School near Goodyear Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Goodyear AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must 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 program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college'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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Goodyear AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may 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 offices 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 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Goodyear AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Goodyear AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Goodyear AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost 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 factors, for example 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 significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check 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 college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Goodyear AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Goodyear Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.