How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Chandler Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Chandler AZ is an important first step toward beginning 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 doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Chandler AZ practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Chandler AZ dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing 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 policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Chandler AZ area junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Chandler AZ area community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chandler AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office 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 discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Chandler AZ area schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Chandler AZ often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Arizona college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Chandler AZ dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Chandler AZ college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Chandler AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene schools need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Chandler AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Arizona programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Chandler AZ.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near your Chandler AZ home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask Dental Hygienist prospects is "What compelled you to select Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Hygiene, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Chandler AZ
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler AZ.
A Bit About Chandler Arizona
Chandler is a city in Maricopa County, Arizona, United States, and a prominent suburb of the Phoenix, Arizona, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). It is bordered to the north and west by Tempe, to the north by Mesa, to the west by Phoenix, to the south by the Gila River Indian Community, and to the east by Gilbert. As of July 2015, the population was 260,828 according to the United States Census Bureau, According to the city's official website, Chandler's Transportation & Development Department estimated the population, as of May 2016, to be 247,328. It also has satellite locations for many technology companies, including Intel and Orbital ATK.
In 1891, Dr. Alexander John Chandler, the first veterinary surgeon in Arizona Territory, settled on a ranch south of Mesa, studying irrigation engineering. By 1900, he had acquired 18,000 acres (73 km2) of land, and began drawing up plans for a townsite on what was then known as the Chandler Ranch. The townsite office opened on May 17, 1912, the same year that Chandler High School was established. The townsite was bounded by Galveston Street on the north, Frye Road on the south, Hartford Street on the west, and Hamilton Street on the east. By 1913, a town center had become established, featuring the Hotel San Marcos, the first golf resort in the state.
Most of Chandler's economy was successfully sustained during the Great Depression (a second San Marcos hotel was canceled due to the Depression however), but the cotton crash a few years later had a much deeper impact on the city's residents. Later, the founding of Williams Air Force Base in 1941 led to a small surge in population, but Chandler still only held 3,800 people by 1950. By 1980, it had grown to 30,000, and it has since paced the Phoenix metropolitan area's high rate of growth, with vast suburban residential areas swallowing former agricultural plots. Some of this growth was fueled by the establishment of manufacturing plants for communications and computing firms such as Microchip, Motorola and Intel.
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