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How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene School near Paradise Valley Arizona

Paradise Valley Arizona dental hygienist checking patient's teethPicking the right dental hygienist program near Paradise Valley AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the school'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Paradise Valley Arizona dental hygienist examining boy's teeth

When comparing the job 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 Paradise Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:

    • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
    • Applying fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Educating patients regarding oral care
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Applying fillings and removing sutures

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 fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Education Options

Paradise Valley Arizona dental hygienist cleaning female patient's teethAs a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Paradise Valley AZ dental offices are normally required to have 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 nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Hygienist Classes

Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Paradise Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened 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 receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.

Learn More About Paradise Valley Dental Hygienist Degrees

Topics to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. 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 Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Paradise Valley AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Paradise Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching 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 Paradise Valley AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Paradise Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Paradise Valley AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Paradise Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.

Choose the Right Paradise Valley Dental Hygienist Training

big smile with clean teeth by Paradise Valley Arizona dental hygienistPicking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed.  As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley Arizona.

 

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