How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist School near Marana Arizona
Selecting the ideal 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 examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the school'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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When 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 Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Marana AZ dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Marana AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
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 beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marana AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher 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 place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Marana AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Marana Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is important if you wish 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 available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.