How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Picture Rocks Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Picture Rocks AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role 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 Picture Rocks AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Picture Rocks AZ dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Picture Rocks AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical 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 receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Picture Rocks AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Picture Rocks AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Picture Rocks AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get 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 create professional relationships in the Picture Rocks AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Picture Rocks AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Picture Rocks AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Picture Rocks AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Picture Rocks AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Picture Rocks Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Picture Rocks Arizona.