How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program near New River Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near New River AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably 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 assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast 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 require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your New River AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River AZ, you can start 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 location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools 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 due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New River AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the New River AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the New River AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near New River AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required 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 illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right New River Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right 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 we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.