How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Goodyear Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Goodyear AZ is an important 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 performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties 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 Goodyear AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 also must 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 OptionsDue to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Goodyear Arizona dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Goodyear AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means 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 establish professional relationships in the Goodyear AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Goodyear AZ dental hygienist school 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 Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Goodyear AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Goodyear Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial 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 a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend 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 appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.