How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near Gilbert Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Gilbert AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the college'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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing 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 a Dental Hygienist
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 Gilbert 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 LicensingHow to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Gilbert AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Gilbert AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gilbert AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Gilbert AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Gilbert Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona.