How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including 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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting 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 assists the El Mirage AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar 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
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in El Mirage Arizona dental practices are often 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing 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 school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Mirage AZ employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method 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 professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require 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 higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near El Mirage AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right El Mirage Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.