How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Maricopa Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Maricopa AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Maricopa AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Maricopa AZ dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Maricopa AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed 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 furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Maricopa AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Maricopa AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Maricopa AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Maricopa AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Maricopa AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from 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 greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Maricopa AZ dental hygienist college 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 Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Maricopa AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Maricopa 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 policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Maricopa Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend 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 alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Maricopa Arizona.