How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Laveen Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Laveen AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Laveen AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Laveen AZ dental offices are often required to have 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Laveen AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Laveen AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Laveen AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Laveen AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to get 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 build professional relationships in the Laveen AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Laveen AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Laveen AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Laveen AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Laveen AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Laveen Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Laveen Arizona.