How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Lake Havasu City AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lake Havasu City Arizona dental practices are normally required to hold 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 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a great 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 remainder of your classes will be available via 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 attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
What 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 schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Havasu City AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion 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 practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, 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 Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available 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 confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Lake Havasu City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative 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 several options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.