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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona dental hygienist checking man's teethPicking the ideal dental hygienist college near Green Valley AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school'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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

The Function of Dental Hygienists

Green Valley Arizona dental hygienist cleaning child's teeth

When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Green Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:

    • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
    • Applying fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Training Options

Green Valley Arizona dental hygienist examining female patient's teethAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Green Valley AZ dental practices are usually 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 virtually 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Schools

Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Green Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.

Learn More About Green Valley Dental Hygienist Degree Programs

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Green Valley AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Green Valley AZ dental practices typically prefer 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 provided for non-accredited schools.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Green Valley AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Green Valley AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Small? Ask the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Green Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Green Valley AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must 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 must attend classes near Green Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Pick the Best Green Valley Dental Hygienist Program

great smile with clean teeth by Green Valley Arizona dental hygienistSelecting the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend 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 education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona.

 

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