How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Laveen Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Laveen AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the school'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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Laveen AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report 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
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Laveen AZ dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Laveen AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office 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 style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Laveen AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Laveen AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Laveen AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Laveen AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Laveen AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can 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 schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Laveen AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Laveen AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Laveen Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training 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 normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Laveen Arizona.