How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Guadalupe Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Guadalupe AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Guadalupe AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Guadalupe AZ dental offices are often required to hold 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Guadalupe 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 charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Guadalupe AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Guadalupe AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Guadalupe AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Guadalupe AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching 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 Guadalupe AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Guadalupe AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Guadalupe AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Guadalupe AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Guadalupe Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Guadalupe Arizona.