How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Central Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Central AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far 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 important factors to consider also, such as the program’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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Central AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Central AZ dental practices are usually 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 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| Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Central AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Central AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Central AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Central AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to obtain 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing 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 Central AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Central AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Central AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure 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 go to classes near Central 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 practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Central AZ?
Central is at 32°52′13″N 109°47′35″W / 32.87028°N 109.79306°W / 32.87028; -109.79306, at an elevation of approximately 2900 feet above sea level. From this location just south of the Gila River within the Upper Gila Valley, Mount Graham of the Pinaleño (Pinaleno Mountains) range dominates the southern skyline.
Central was first homesteaded by the Cluff family in 1880. The Cluffs extended the Central Canal to their lands on the eastern side of Central. Later settlers extended the canal west and north. In 1883 construction began on a one-room white rock building to be used as a church meeting house and school house. By 1884 twenty families, including Cluff, Norton, Shurtz, Bigler, and Webster households resided in Central. In 1978 the streets were named after these early Mormon pioneers. In December 1883 the Central Ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was organized and Joseph Cluff was ordained the first bishop. A new red brick church was built in 1885. It was the first regular meeting house built in this part of Arizona and was also the first home of the LDS Academy from December 1890 to May 1891. A plaque east of Hwy 70 on Central Road commemorates the original home of the St. Joseph Stake Academy that later moved to Thatcher and became Eastern Arizona College.
In 1894, LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen reported on the Central Ward: "Thirty-five families or 178 souls, constitute the Mormon population, and there are only two other families in the district. Central excels in point of large orchards, extensive alfalfa fields and good grain. The meeting house is the only public building in the settlement, in which there is also a small store and a post office. There are a number of fine and comfortable private residences, built mostly of brick and adobe."
The Gila Valley Arizona Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened in 2010, is located in Central. The temple is the third LDS temple built in Arizona and the first temple announced by Thomas S. Monson after being sustained as President of the Church in 2008. Monson dedicated the temple on May 23, 2010.
Enroll in the Best Dental Hygienist School near Central AZ
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Central AZ.
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