How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Nogales Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Nogales AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing 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 contrasting the role 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 assists the Nogales AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When 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 Nogales Arizona dental practices are generally 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 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Nogales AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Nogales AZ employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Nogales AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Nogales AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Nogales AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Nogales AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting 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 be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Nogales Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nogales Arizona.