How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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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 Drexel Heights 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 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes 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 comfort of your Drexel Heights AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office 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 dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided 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 pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain 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 create professional relationships in the Drexel Heights AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.