How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Catalina Foothills AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, including the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job 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 Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Catalina Foothills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost 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 factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Catalina Foothills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.