How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Holbrook Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Holbrook AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Holbrook AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Holbrook AZ dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Holbrook AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Holbrook AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Holbrook AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient 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, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Holbrook AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Holbrook AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Holbrook AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Holbrook AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides 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 select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Holbrook Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want 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 offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing 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 in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Holbrook Arizona.