How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Chandler Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Chandler AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should 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 Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Chandler AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Chandler Arizona dental offices are usually required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Chandler AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Chandler AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical 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 professional relationships in the Chandler AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chandler AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need 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 because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Chandler Dental Hygienist School
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.