How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as 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 cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in El Mirage Arizona dental practices are usually 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 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. El Mirage AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near El Mirage AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have 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 Right El Mirage Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.