How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Douglas Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Douglas AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the school'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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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 Douglas 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 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Douglas AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Douglas Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Douglas AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Douglas AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Douglas AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Douglas AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Douglas AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Douglas AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Douglas Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program 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 a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Douglas Arizona.