How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Bullhead City Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Bullhead City AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Bullhead City AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 examinations. Once 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 OptionsDue to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bullhead City Arizona dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting 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 provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bullhead City AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Bullhead City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative 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 several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.