How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the school'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 finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fortuna Foothills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fortuna Foothills Arizona dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fortuna Foothills AZ employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient 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 college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out 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 Fortuna Foothills AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is essential 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 several alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.