How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Gilbert Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Gilbert AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to 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 offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Gilbert AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Training OptionsDue to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Gilbert Arizona dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind 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 convenience of your Gilbert AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
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 opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gilbert AZ employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, practical 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 professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 Gilbert AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Gilbert AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose 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.
Pick the Right Gilbert Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program 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 receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona.