How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Nogales Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Nogales AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing 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 Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Nogales AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Nogales Arizona dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Nogales AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. 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 lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nogales AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Nogales AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Nogales AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Nogales AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Nogales AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Nogales AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Nogales Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona.