How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College near New River Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near New River AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the New River AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may 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
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in New River AZ dental offices 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 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your New River AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online 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 school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New River AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school 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 ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means 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 establish professional relationships in the New River AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the New River AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the New River 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 enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the New River AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near New River AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best New River Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right 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 you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.