How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Surprise Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Surprise AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Surprise AZ practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 have graduated 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Surprise AZ dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Surprise AZ area junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. 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 also offered in Surprise AZ area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Surprise AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Surprise AZ area programs you are comparing in order to make 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 right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Surprise AZ frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Arizona colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Arizona college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Surprise AZ dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Surprise AZ college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Surprise AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Surprise AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Arizona programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Surprise AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near your Surprise AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What made you choose Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Hygiene, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you need to organize several strategies about how you want to respond to them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few ideas and talking points that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Enroll in the Right Dental Hygienist School near Surprise AZ
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Surprise AZ.
A Bit About Surprise Arizona
Surprise is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona. The population was 30,848 at the 2000 census; however, rapid expansion has boosted the city's population to 117,517 at the 2010 census, an increase of 281%. As such, it is the second fastest-expanding municipality in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area (after Gilbert) and, between 1990 and 2000, it was the sixth fastest-expanding place among all cities and towns in Arizona.
The city has a 10,562-square-foot (981.2 m2) Aquatics Center and Maricopa County's northwest regional library, a $5.5 million, 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) library, along with a 100.3 cost of living index.
The city was founded in 1938 by Flora Mae Statler, who named it Surprise as she "would be surprised if the town ever amounted to much". Surprise officials previously thought the city was founded by Statler's husband, real estate developer and state legislator Homer C. Ludden, but in 2010 property records were discovered which listed Statler owning the land before she met Ludden.
Although there were only a few houses and a gas station on the one-mile (1.6 km)-square parcel of land when it was subdivided to build inexpensive houses for agricultural workers, Surprise has experienced tremendous growth in the years since. It incorporated into a city in 1960, the townsite being bounded by Greenway Road on the south, El Mirage Road on the east, Bell Road on the north, and Dysart Road on the west.
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