How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Fountain Hills AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the program'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fountain Hills AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fountain Hills Arizona dental offices are usually required to have 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies 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 clinical and online training, everything required 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 program is the best option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fountain Hills AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select 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 Fountain Hills AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Fountain Hills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration 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 have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Fountain Hills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.