How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Oro Valley Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Oro Valley AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, including 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists 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 interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsAs a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Oro Valley Arizona dental practices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible 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 far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important 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 requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Oro Valley AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in 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 evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools 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 place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Oro Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, 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 offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Oro Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Oro Valley Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona.