How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Bullhead City Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate 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 home. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as the school'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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role 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 Bullhead City 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 Education 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 Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look 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 reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bullhead City AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Bullhead City AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Bullhead City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Bullhead City Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.