How to Select a Dental Hygienist College near Cottonwood Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Cottonwood AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Cottonwood AZ practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically 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 also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Cottonwood AZ dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Arizona dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Cottonwood AZ area junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. 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 also offered in Cottonwood AZ area vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Cottonwood AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Arizona programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Cottonwood AZ area schools you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Cottonwood AZ often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Arizona programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the Arizona college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Cottonwood AZ dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Cottonwood AZ program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Cottonwood AZ dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Cottonwood AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Arizona schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Cottonwood AZ.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Cottonwood AZ home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters frequently ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What compelled you to choose Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you outstanding at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must organize several ideas about how you want to address them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Hygienist and the ideal choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Cottonwood AZ
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Cottonwood AZ.
A Bit About Cottonwood Arizona
Cottonwood is a city in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 11,265.
Cottonwood is located at 34°43′56″N 112°1′7″W / 34.73222°N 112.01861°W / 34.73222; -112.01861 (34.732145, -112.018565).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.7 square miles (28 km2), all land.
Cottonwood has a semi-arid steppe climate. In January the normal high temperature is 55 °F (13 °C) with a low of 26 °F (−3 °C). In July the normal high temperature is 97 °F (36 °C) with a low of 68 °F (20 °C). Annual precipitation is around 13 inches (33 cm).
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