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 initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing 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 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 LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Catalina Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
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 discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Catalina Foothills AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Catalina Foothills AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method 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 Catalina Foothills AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Catalina Foothills AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Catalina Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available 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 must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Catalina Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Catalina Foothills Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal 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 options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training 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 typically require about 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 decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Catalina Foothills Arizona.