How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Litchfield Park Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Litchfield Park AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally 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 discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to 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 provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
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 Litchfield Park AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Litchfield Park AZ dental offices are normally 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 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 offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible 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 working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Litchfield Park AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Litchfield Park AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently 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 Litchfield Park AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Litchfield Park AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Litchfield Park AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Litchfield Park AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Litchfield Park AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Litchfield Park AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 emergencies.
Pick the Best Litchfield Park Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Litchfield Park Arizona.