How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Flagstaff Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Flagstaff AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the program's reputation and accreditation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Function 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 LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Flagstaff AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Flagstaff Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Flagstaff AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Flagstaff AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Flagstaff AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Flagstaff AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Flagstaff AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Flagstaff AZ at nights 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 policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Flagstaff Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Flagstaff Arizona.