How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Drexel Heights AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed 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 in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Drexel Heights Arizona dental practices are normally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Drexel Heights AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate 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, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method 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 form professional relationships in the Drexel Heights AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter 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 asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.