How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Casa Grande Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Casa Grande AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Casa Grande AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal 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 every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Casa Grande Arizona dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Casa Grande AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casa Grande 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 start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Casa Grande AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in 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 colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Casa Grande AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Casa Grande AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Casa Grande AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Casa Grande AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Casa Grande Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona.