How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lake Havasu City 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 can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Lake Havasu City Arizona dental offices are generally 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 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lake Havasu City AZ employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are evaluating 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 one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Lake Havasu City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.