How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene School Near El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near El Mirage AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, for instance the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
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 Hygienist Education 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 Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great option for getting your education. Just remember 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 by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your El Mirage AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice 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 dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. El Mirage AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local El Mirage AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the El Mirage AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, 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 degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, 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 Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near El Mirage AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right El Mirage Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning 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 in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in El Mirage Arizona.