How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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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 Catalina Foothills 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 Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Catalina Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.