How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Chandler Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Chandler AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.
Dental Hygienist Schooling and LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via 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 attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points 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. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chandler AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate 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, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Chandler AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing 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 place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Chandler AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Chandler AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Chandler Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.