How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Holbrook Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Holbrook AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Holbrook AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Holbrook AZ dental practices are often required to hold 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 virtually 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Holbrook AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Holbrook AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Holbrook 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 programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Holbrook AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical 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 Holbrook AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Holbrook AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Holbrook AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Holbrook AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Holbrook AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Holbrook Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Holbrook Arizona.