How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Nogales Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Nogales AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college'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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Nogales AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Nogales Arizona dental practices are usually 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Nogales AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program 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. Nogales AZ employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Nogales AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means 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 establish professional relationships in the Nogales AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Nogales AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Nogales AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate 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 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Nogales AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Nogales AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Nogales Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona.