How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Gilbert Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Gilbert AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, including the program's accreditation and reputation. 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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating 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 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 Schooling 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 Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Gilbert AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office 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 method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gilbert AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gilbert AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Gilbert AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Gilbert Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting 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 we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide 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.