How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Kingman Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Kingman AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college'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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Kingman AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with 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. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Kingman AZ dental practices are generally 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely 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 convenience of your Kingman AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice 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 mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Kingman AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kingman AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical 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 subsequently 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 care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best 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 Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Kingman AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Kingman AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Kingman AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Kingman AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Kingman Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing 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 Kingman Arizona.