How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lake Havasu City AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lake Havasu City AZ dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Havasu City AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Lake Havasu City 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 making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Lake Havasu City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.