How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Drexel Heights AZ is an important 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 far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Drexel Heights AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed 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 employed in Drexel Heights Arizona dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of 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 school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually 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 furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Topics 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 programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Drexel Heights AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly 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 earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.