How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing 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 Lake Havasu City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure 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 Training OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lake Havasu City 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished 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 School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Havasu City AZ employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain 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 create professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Lake Havasu City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important 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 acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.