How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account 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. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss 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 explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Drexel Heights AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Drexel Heights Arizona dental offices are often required to have 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 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Drexel Heights AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get 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 establish professional relationships in the Drexel Heights AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to 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 Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial 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 a number of alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.