How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Chandler Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Chandler AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Chandler AZ practice and the dentists. 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 each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chandler Arizona dental offices are generally 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 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chandler AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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. Chandler AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient 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 college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Chandler Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.