How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Picture Rocks Arizona
Choosing 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 choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Picture Rocks AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can 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 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Picture Rocks AZ dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Picture Rocks AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Picture Rocks AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Picture Rocks AZ dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Picture Rocks AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Picture Rocks AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 Picture Rocks AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Picture Rocks AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical 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 expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Picture Rocks AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Picture Rocks AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Best Picture Rocks Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Picture Rocks Arizona.