How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program near Page Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Page AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role 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 assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Page AZ dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Page AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Page AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges 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 evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Page AZ dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Page AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Page AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement 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 profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Page AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check 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 school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Page AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Page Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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.