How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the college'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing 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 Catalina Foothills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Catalina Foothills Arizona dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best 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 develop professional relationships in the Catalina Foothills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume 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 besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Catalina Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.