How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Payson Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Payson AZ is an essential 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 completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as 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 cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Payson AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Payson AZ dental practices are usually 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program 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 practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Payson AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Payson AZ, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Payson AZ dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Payson AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Payson AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Payson AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length 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 substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Payson AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Payson AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Payson Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important 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 a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Payson Arizona.