How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Florence Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Florence AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Florence AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Florence Arizona dental offices are generally required to hold 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 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Florence AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of 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 prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Florence AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 select 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 have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Florence AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Florence AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Florence AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Florence AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Florence AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Florence Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial 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 many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 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 choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona.