How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Douglas Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Douglas AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the school'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Douglas AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform 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
- 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 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 licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Douglas Arizona dental offices are generally required to have 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 virtually 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Douglas AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed 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 dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Douglas Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Douglas AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Douglas AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical 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 form professional relationships in the Douglas AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Douglas AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Douglas AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Douglas AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Douglas AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have 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 issues.
Choose the Best Douglas Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Douglas Arizona.