How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Casa Grande Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Casa Grande AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 in support of the Casa Grande 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 sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensure exams. 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 OptionsDue to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Casa Grande Arizona dental offices are generally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Casa Grande AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus 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 a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school 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. Casa Grande AZ employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient 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, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Casa Grande AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Casa Grande AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Casa Grande AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance 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 substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting 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 getting your education and have to go to classes near Casa Grande AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Casa Grande Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential 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 numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona.