How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Laveen Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Laveen AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college'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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job 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 Laveen AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Laveen AZ dental offices are normally required to have 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 virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Laveen AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Laveen AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few 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 furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Laveen AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Laveen AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing 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 Laveen AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Laveen AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors 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 volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Laveen AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Laveen AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need 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 due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Laveen Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Laveen Arizona.