How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College near Page Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Page AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school'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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Page AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Page 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally 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 Page AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Page AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Page AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Page AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Page AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Page AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Page AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Page AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Page Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal 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 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Page Arizona.