How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Peoria Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Peoria AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Peoria AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work 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 each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Peoria AZ dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. A number of 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 alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Peoria AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Peoria AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Peoria AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants 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 programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Peoria AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Peoria AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Peoria AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Peoria AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Peoria AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Peoria Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the right 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 options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide 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 Peoria Arizona.