How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Flowing Wells AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Flowing Wells AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flowing Wells Arizona dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally 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 Flowing Wells AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Flowing Wells AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Flowing Wells AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical 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 professional relationships in the Flowing Wells AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Flowing Wells AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Flowing Wells AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Flowing Wells AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your training 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona.