How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Course Near New River Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near New River AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the New River AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 exams. 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 Training OptionsDue to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in New River Arizona dental offices are usually required to hold 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 virtually 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your New River AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed 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 furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. New River AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical 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 New River AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, 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 Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near New River AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best New River Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education 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 obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.