How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an important first step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. 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 look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Function 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 Training and LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Fortuna Foothills AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.