How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Bullhead City Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Bullhead City AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties 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 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 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 school can be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Bullhead City AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
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 beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bullhead City AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bullhead City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 professional relationships in the Bullhead City AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bullhead City AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Bullhead City AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs 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 expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bullhead City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Bullhead City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Bullhead City Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential 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 many alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bullhead City Arizona.