How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Marana Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Marana AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Marana AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Marana AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Marana AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get 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 create professional relationships in the Marana AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Marana AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Marana AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Marana Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to 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 right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.