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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College Near El Mirage Arizona

El Mirage Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist program near El Mirage 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 doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the program'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 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 additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist

El Mirage Arizona Dental Hygienist cleaning young woman's teeth

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:

  • Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
  • Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
  • Take dental x-rays and develop them
  • Administer local anesthetics to patients
  • Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
  • Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
  • Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Schooling and Licensing

How 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 Colleges

El Mirage Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced 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 obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. El Mirage AZ employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently 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 El Mirage AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real 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 too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs 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 El Mirage AZ dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near El Mirage AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in El Mirage

Pick the Right El Mirage Dental Hygienist Training

Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.



 

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