How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the school'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main 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 assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. 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
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsDue to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Drexel Heights Arizona dental practices are often 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 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Drexel Heights AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. 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 needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask 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, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Drexel Heights AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program 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 considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans 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 accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.