How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Bullhead City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Bullhead City AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the school'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bullhead City AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Bullhead City Arizona dental offices are often 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Bullhead City AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bullhead City AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Bullhead City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Bullhead City Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.