How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Apache Junction Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Apache Junction AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing 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 significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
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 Training 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Apache Junction AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Apache Junction AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Apache Junction AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Apache Junction AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Apache Junction AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Apache Junction AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Apache Junction AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Apache Junction Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Apache Junction Arizona.