How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Apache Junction Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Apache Junction AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Apache Junction AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Apache Junction Arizona dental practices are generally required to have 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 virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. 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 sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Apache Junction AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Apache Junction AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Apache Junction AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Apache Junction AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Apache Junction AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Apache Junction AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Apache Junction AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Apache Junction Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona.