How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Flagstaff Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Flagstaff AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program'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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles 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 contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Flagstaff AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flagstaff Arizona dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Flagstaff AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies 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 online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flagstaff Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Flagstaff AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Flagstaff AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Flagstaff AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Flagstaff AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Flagstaff AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Flagstaff AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Flagstaff Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education 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 programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flagstaff Arizona.