How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Casa Grande Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Casa Grande AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Casa Grande AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the additional responsibility as compared 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 take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Casa Grande AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Casa Grande AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select 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, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Casa Grande AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional 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 Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Casa Grande AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to 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 feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Casa Grande AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Casa Grande AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Casa Grande AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Casa Grande Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial 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 several alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Casa Grande Arizona.