How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Marana Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Marana AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Marana AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Marana AZ dental practices are normally 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Marana AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Marana AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marana AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Marana AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate 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 if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Marana AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Marana Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important 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 many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.