How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Fountain Hills Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Fountain Hills AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess 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 crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the program'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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive 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 schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations. Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Fountain Hills AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fountain Hills AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Fountain Hills AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fountain Hills AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Fountain Hills AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Fountain Hills AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly 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 generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fountain Hills Arizona.