How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Gilbert Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Gilbert AZ is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the school'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. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Role 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 Education 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest 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 working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
What 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 opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Gilbert AZ employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Gilbert AZ dental office 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 most effective means to get 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 create professional relationships in the Gilbert AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Gilbert AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Gilbert AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Gilbert AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Gilbert AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Gilbert Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Gilbert Arizona.