How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Paradise Valley Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Paradise Valley AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Paradise Valley AZ dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting 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 provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Paradise Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office 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 discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school 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. Paradise Valley AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 choose offers clinical rotation in a local Paradise Valley AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Paradise Valley AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Paradise Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Paradise Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Paradise Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Paradise Valley Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training 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 programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley Arizona.