How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Flagstaff Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Flagstaff AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Flagstaff AZ practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Flagstaff AZ dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 practical component to the training as well| Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Flagstaff AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office 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 style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flagstaff AZ, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided 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 many valid 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 nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Flagstaff AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Flagstaff AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Flagstaff AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Flagstaff AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. 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 colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Flagstaff AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Flagstaff AZ?
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a growing center for medical and biotechnology manufacturing, home to corporations such as SenesTech and W. L. Gore and Associates. 
There are several stories and legends about the origin of the city's name. Surveyors, prospectors, and investors had traveled through the area in the mid- to late-19th century, and the act of stripping a pine tree to fly an American flag has been attributed to several individuals over a twenty-year span. It is said that, because of the flag that was raised, the area surrounding it became known as Flagstaff.
Find the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Flagstaff AZ
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose 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 in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flagstaff AZ.
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