How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Litchfield Park Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Litchfield Park AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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. After 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
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Litchfield Park AZ dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Litchfield Park AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Subjects 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 schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 School Accredited? There are many 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 almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Litchfield Park AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers sufficient 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, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Litchfield Park AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical 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 develop professional relationships in the Litchfield Park AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out 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 community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Litchfield Park AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Litchfield Park AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Litchfield Park AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Litchfield Park Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative 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 options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Litchfield Park Arizona.