How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Oro Valley Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Oro Valley AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental 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 provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Oro Valley AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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 may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 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 licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Oro Valley Arizona dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 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 Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Oro Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oro Valley AZ employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Oro Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive 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 establish professional relationships in the Oro Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at 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 Oro Valley AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Oro Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Oro Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Oro Valley Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona.