How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Avondale Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Avondale AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns 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 look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Avondale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Avondale 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 nearly every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Avondale AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community 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 discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Avondale AZ employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Avondale AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Avondale AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Avondale AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Avondale AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Avondale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Avondale Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.