How to Choose a Dental Hygienist School near Phoenix Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Phoenix AZ is an important first step toward beginning 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 completing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Phoenix AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding 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 graduate 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 licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Phoenix AZ dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Phoenix AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Phoenix AZ, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college 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. Phoenix AZ employers frequently 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 offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Phoenix AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Phoenix AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Phoenix AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors 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 variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Phoenix AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Phoenix AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Phoenix AZ?
Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,615,017 people (as of 2016[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update]. In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona in 1889. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (which was important for the cattle industry). Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.
The city averaged a four percent annual population growth rate over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession of 2007–09, and has rebounded slowly. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the entire state.
Find the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Phoenix AZ
Picking the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives 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 programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Phoenix AZ.
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