How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene School near Payson Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Payson AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Payson AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently 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 also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Payson AZ dental practices are often 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 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Payson AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Payson AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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. Payson AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Payson AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Payson AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Payson AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Payson AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Payson AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Payson Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Payson Arizona.