How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene College Near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program'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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Fortuna Foothills Arizona dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental Hygienist Schooling 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally 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 convenience of your Fortuna Foothills AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fortuna Foothills AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical 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 ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Fortuna Foothills AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Fortuna Foothills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Fortuna Foothills AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Pick the Right Fortuna Foothills Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fortuna Foothills Arizona.