How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Chandler Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Chandler AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including 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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Chandler AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Chandler 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 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Chandler AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chandler AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Chandler AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Chandler AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger 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 leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Chandler Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.