How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Goodyear Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Goodyear AZ is an important first 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 doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Goodyear AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Goodyear Arizona dental practices 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 nearly 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 practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Goodyear AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning 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 college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Goodyear AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Goodyear Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important 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 numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing 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 Goodyear Arizona.