How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Course Near Gilbert Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Gilbert AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school'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 two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier 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 schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
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 Training 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Gilbert AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed 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 style of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gilbert AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gilbert AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Gilbert AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Gilbert Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona.