How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Course Near Drexel Heights Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role 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 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Drexel Heights AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed 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 furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Drexel Heights AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Drexel Heights AZ dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical 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 build professional relationships in the Drexel Heights AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Drexel Heights AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning 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 school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available 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 assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Drexel Heights AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Drexel Heights Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two 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 addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Drexel Heights Arizona.