How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Kingman Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Kingman 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 selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school'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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 assists the Kingman AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Kingman AZ dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 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 component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your education. 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 available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Kingman AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Kingman AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kingman AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Kingman AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Kingman AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Kingman AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools 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 if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Kingman AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Kingman 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Kingman Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kingman Arizona.