How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job 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 Schooling and LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Drexel Heights AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened 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 needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Drexel Heights AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers adequate 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, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering 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 community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting 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. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting 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 be required 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 Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.