How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Gilbert Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Gilbert AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties 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 Gilbert AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Gilbert Arizona dental offices are normally 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 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Gilbert AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed 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 furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gilbert AZ employers typically 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 available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gilbert AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Gilbert AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gilbert Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona.