How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Florence Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Florence AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Florence AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled 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 added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Florence Arizona dental offices are generally 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 finish 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Florence AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona, you can start the process 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. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make 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 ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, 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. Florence AZ employers typically 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 provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough 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, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Florence AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain 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 establish professional relationships in the Florence AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check 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 Florence AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Florence AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Florence AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Florence AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Florence Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to receive 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona.