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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Holbrook Arizona

Holbrook Arizona dental hygienist examining patient's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Holbrook AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Holbrook Arizona dental hygienist cleaning boy's teeth

When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Holbrook AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:

    • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
    • Applying fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
    • Taking and developing X-rays
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Degree Options

Holbrook Arizona dental hygienist cleaning woman's teethDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Holbrook AZ dental practices are usually 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 almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Classes

Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Holbrook AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed 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 ideal choice for you.

Learn More About Holbrook Dental Hygiene Degrees

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

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 discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Holbrook AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Holbrook AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Holbrook AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Holbrook AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Holbrook AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must 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 procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Right Holbrook Dental Hygienist Program

big smile with clean teeth by Holbrook Arizona dental hygienistEnrolling in the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed.  As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Holbrook Arizona.

 

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