How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Glendale Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Glendale AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account 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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Glendale AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Glendale Arizona dental practices are normally 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 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Glendale AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. 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 Examination, 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. Glendale AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Glendale AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glendale AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Glendale AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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, don't forget to add all of the costs related to 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 Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Glendale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Glendale Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your training 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 schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.