How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Flowing Wells Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Flowing Wells AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Flowing Wells 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 interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When 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 Schooling OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flowing Wells Arizona dental offices are normally 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 practical component 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 program might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. 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 provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Flowing Wells AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Flowing Wells AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an 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 Flowing Wells AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means 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 establish professional relationships in the Flowing Wells AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Flowing Wells AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Flowing Wells AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Flowing Wells AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Flowing Wells AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Flowing Wells Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flowing Wells Arizona.