How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Kingman Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Kingman AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, for instance the school'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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Kingman AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 Kingman Arizona dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Kingman AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending 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 Kingman Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at 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 school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program 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. Kingman AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Kingman AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Kingman AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Kingman AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Kingman AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Kingman 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 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 Best Kingman Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kingman Arizona.