How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make 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 college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one 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. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Lake Havasu City AZ practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 component of any Lake Havasu City AZ dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Lake Havasu City AZ area community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Lake Havasu City AZ area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can 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 rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Arizona schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Lake Havasu City AZ area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Lake Havasu City AZ often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Arizona schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Arizona school you decide on offers 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. In order to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Lake Havasu City AZ dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Lake Havasu City AZ college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Lake Havasu City AZ dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Arizona colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Lake Havasu City AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Lake Havasu City AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygiene applicants is "What compelled you to pick Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what characteristics and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you want to address them. Since there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down several ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Lake Havasu City AZ
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 Lake Havasu City AZ.
A Bit About Lake Havasu City Arizona
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Lake Havasu City is a city in Mohave County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the city was 52,527 people. It is served by Lake Havasu City Airport. Lake Havasu City is geographically isolated from the other cities in Mohave County and is the southernmost community of the Las Vegas–Henderson, NV–AZ combined statistical area.
The community first started as an Army Air Corps rest camp, called "Site Six". during World War II on the shores of Lake Havasu. In 1958, American businessman Robert P. McCulloch purchased 3,353 acres (13.57 km2) of property on the east side of the lake along Pittsburgh Point, the peninsula that eventually would be transformed into "the Island".
After four years of planning, McCulloch Properties acquired another 13,000 acres of federal land in the surrounding area. Lake Havasu City was established on September 30, 1963, by a resolution of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors as the Lake Havasu Irrigation and Drainage District, making it a legal entity. (The act is referenced in resolution #63-12-1.) The city was incorporated in 1978.
London Bridge crosses a narrow channel that leads from Lake Havasu (a segment of the Colorado River) to Thompson Bay (also on the river). Hoping to attract tourists and prospective buyers of residential lots, McCulloch bought it for US$2.5 million from the City of London when the bridge was replaced in 1968. The bridge was disassembled on contract with Sundt Construction, Tucson, Arizona, and the marked stones were shipped to Lake Havasu City and reassembled by Sundt for another US$7 million. The construction took three years to complete.
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