How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Maricopa Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Maricopa AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Maricopa AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared 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 take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Maricopa AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Maricopa AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Maricopa AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Maricopa AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Maricopa AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Maricopa AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Maricopa AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Maricopa AZ at nights 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Maricopa Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Maricopa Arizona.