How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Fountain Hills AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Fountain Hills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters 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 duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fountain Hills Arizona dental offices are generally 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fountain Hills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make 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 school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fountain Hills AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring 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 be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 available to acquire your training 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 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 elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.