How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Page Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Page AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the college'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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Page AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Page AZ dental practices are normally required to hold 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 nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Page AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Page AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate 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 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Page AZ dental practices typically prefer 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 available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Page AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain 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 build professional relationships in the Page AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Page AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Page AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Page AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Page AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Page Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Page Arizona.