How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program near Paradise Valley Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Paradise Valley AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Paradise Valley AZ dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of 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 going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
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, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning 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 program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Paradise Valley AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Paradise Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical 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 build professional relationships in the Paradise Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Paradise Valley AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Paradise Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending 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 substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges 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 Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Paradise Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Paradise Valley Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Paradise Valley Arizona.