How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Chandler Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist program near Chandler AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school'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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations. Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Chandler AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, 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 Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chandler 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, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? 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 relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Chandler AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Chandler Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly 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 typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.