How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Maricopa Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Maricopa AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Maricopa AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their findings 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
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled 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
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Maricopa AZ dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Maricopa AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Maricopa AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school 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. Maricopa AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide 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 subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Maricopa AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Maricopa AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Maricopa AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. 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, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Maricopa AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Maricopa AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Maricopa Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Maricopa Arizona.