How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Glendale Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Glendale AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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 most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Glendale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial 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 may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing 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 Education OptionsAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glendale Arizona dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glendale AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Glendale AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Glendale AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Glendale AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Glendale 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 making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Glendale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Glendale Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.