How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Drexel Heights AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. 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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
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 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 Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Drexel Heights AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Drexel Heights AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses 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 associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available 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 must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.