How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist College near Nogales Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Nogales AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the program'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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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 on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Nogales AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Nogales AZ dental practices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Nogales AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nogales AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nogales AZ dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Nogales AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Nogales AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Nogales AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Nogales AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Nogales AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Nogales Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential 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 several options offered 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 programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona.