How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Marana Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Marana AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program'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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Marana AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Marana AZ dental practices are normally 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 finish 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Marana AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Marana AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marana AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose 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, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Marana AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Marana AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Marana Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.