How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Fountain Hills AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make 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 least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fountain Hills AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. 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 Education OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Fountain Hills Arizona dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to 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 ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fountain Hills AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting 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 will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Fountain Hills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.