How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Litchfield Park Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Litchfield Park AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze 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 nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the program'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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Litchfield Park AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Litchfield Park AZ dental practices are generally required to hold 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 nearly 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Litchfield Park AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Litchfield Park AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, 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 College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Litchfield Park AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Litchfield Park AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Litchfield Park AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Litchfield Park AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Litchfield Park AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost 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 example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Litchfield Park AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Litchfield Park AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Litchfield Park Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Litchfield Park Arizona.