How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Florence Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Florence AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Florence AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains 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 nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Florence Arizona dental practices are generally required to have 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 community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. 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
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Florence AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Florence AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Florence AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching 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 broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Florence AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Florence AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Florence Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Florence Arizona.