How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Avondale Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Avondale AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Avondale 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 encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Avondale Arizona dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. 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 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Avondale AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Avondale AZ employers 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, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Avondale AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Avondale AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Avondale AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avondale AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Avondale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Avondale AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Avondale Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.