How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School near Peoria Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Peoria AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing 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 in support of the Peoria AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam as well as any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Peoria AZ dental offices 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Peoria AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Peoria AZ, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Peoria AZ dental practices typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in 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, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Peoria AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical 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 create professional relationships in the Peoria AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Peoria AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Peoria AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Peoria AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Peoria AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Peoria Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining 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 ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Peoria Arizona.