How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Mesa Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Mesa AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, including the college's accreditation and reputation. 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. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Mesa AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Mesa Arizona dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for receiving 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 accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Mesa AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mesa Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Mesa AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Mesa AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Mesa AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Mesa AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Mesa AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment 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 aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mesa AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Mesa AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Mesa Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mesa Arizona.