How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School Near New River Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near New River AZ is an important initial 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 far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the New River AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in New River Arizona dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your New River AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New River AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get 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 form professional relationships in the New River AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the New River AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the New River AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near New River AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required 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 issues.
Choose the Best New River Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.