How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene College near Payson Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Payson AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Payson AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once 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 Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Payson AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Payson AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Payson AZ dental practices frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Payson AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Payson AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer 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 most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent 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 private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Payson AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Payson AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Payson Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Payson Arizona.