How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Avondale Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Avondale AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Avondale AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal 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 each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Avondale Arizona dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Avondale AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Avondale AZ employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Avondale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Avondale AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide 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 leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length 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 substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs 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 costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out 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 school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Avondale AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Avondale Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Avondale Arizona.