How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Nogales Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Nogales AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Nogales AZ dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 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 dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Nogales AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting 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 online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nogales AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nogales AZ dental practices often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Nogales AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive 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 build professional relationships in the Nogales AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Nogales AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Nogales AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Nogales AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Nogales AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Nogales Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona.