How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist College Near El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
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 Schooling 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. 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 practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. El Mirage AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get 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 professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the El Mirage AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the El Mirage AZ dental hygienist college 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 Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the El Mirage AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near El Mirage AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right El Mirage Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.