How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Bullhead City Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Bullhead City AZ is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:
- Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
- Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
- Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
- Take dental x-rays and develop them
- Administer local anesthetics to patients
- Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
- Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
- Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. 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 Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Bullhead City AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Bullhead City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Bullhead City Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.