How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene College near Paradise Valley Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Paradise Valley AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the program'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 accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties 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 assists the Paradise Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also 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 can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Paradise Valley AZ dental offices are usually 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 finish 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Paradise Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Paradise Valley AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Paradise Valley AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Paradise Valley AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Paradise Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Paradise Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Paradise Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Paradise Valley Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous 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 training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley Arizona.