How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene School near Green Valley Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Green Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning 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 choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Green Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work 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 every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Green Valley AZ dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Green Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Green Valley AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Green Valley AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Green Valley AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain 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 build professional relationships in the Green Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Green Valley AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Green Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Green Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Green Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Green Valley Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. 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 presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona.