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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Chandler Arizona

Chandler Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Chandler AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Chandler Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride woman's teeth

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 Training and Licensing

Individuals 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.

Online Dental Hygienist Training

Chandler Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Chandler AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Chandler AZ employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Chandler AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing 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 profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Chandler AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, 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 enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Chandler AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 emergencies.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Chandler

Choose the Right Chandler Dental Hygienist Program

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Chandler Arizona.



 

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