How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Anthem Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Anthem AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the school'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Anthem AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Anthem Arizona dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Anthem AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often 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 method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anthem Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Anthem AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Anthem AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anthem AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Anthem AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Anthem AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Anthem AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Anthem Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anthem Arizona.