How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Fountain Hills AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, 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 finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties 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 Fountain Hills 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 Education 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 Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at 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 ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fountain Hills AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get 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 form professional relationships in the Fountain Hills AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Fountain Hills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential 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 several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.