How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Drexel Heights AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist
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 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Drexel Heights AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Drexel Heights AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for 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 Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select 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 responsibilities.
Pick the Right Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.