How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Maricopa Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Maricopa AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Maricopa AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensure examinations. Once 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 Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Maricopa AZ dental practices are generally 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember 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 by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Maricopa AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Maricopa AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Maricopa AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Maricopa AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Maricopa AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Maricopa AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Maricopa AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Maricopa AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Maricopa Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Maricopa Arizona.