How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important 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 finish. Naturally with the longer 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 schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lake Havasu City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lake Havasu City AZ dental practices are generally 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 finish 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember 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 accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make 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 best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lake Havasu City AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices 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 kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length 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 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, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Lake Havasu City 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 practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to obtain your training 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.