How to Choose the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near El Mirage AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college'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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical 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 laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Mirage AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical 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 professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near El Mirage AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best El Mirage Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.