How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Apache Junction Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Apache Junction AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Apache Junction Arizona dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental Hygienist Schooling and LicensingHow to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Apache Junction AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing 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 right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Apache Junction AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Apache Junction AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to receive 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Apache Junction AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Apache Junction AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Apache Junction AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Apache Junction AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Apache Junction Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona.