How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Catalina Foothills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Catalina Foothills Arizona dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving 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 rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make 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 right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Catalina Foothills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.