How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Program near Mesa Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Mesa AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing 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 significant issues to take into account also, 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review 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 probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Mesa AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding 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 as well as any state licensing exams. After 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 Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Mesa AZ dental offices are generally required to hold 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 aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Mesa AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mesa AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Mesa AZ dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Mesa AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing 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 Mesa AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Mesa AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mesa AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Mesa AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Mesa Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend 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 appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mesa Arizona.