How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Oro Valley Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Oro Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance 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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Oro Valley AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Oro Valley Arizona dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Oro Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies 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 online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain 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 program is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at 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 final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oro Valley AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select 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 schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 establish professional relationships in the Oro Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Oro Valley AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Oro Valley 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 making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Oro Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Oro Valley Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose 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 better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona.