How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Bullhead City Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Bullhead City AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer 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 colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Bullhead City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- 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 graduate 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 licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bullhead City Arizona dental practices are often required to have 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 nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bullhead City AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bullhead City AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Bullhead City AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Bullhead City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.