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How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Glendale Arizona

Glendale Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young boy's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist college near Glendale AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

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The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Glendale Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:

  • Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
  • Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
  • Take dental x-rays and develop them
  • Administer local anesthetics to patients
  • Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
  • Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
  • Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Education and Licensing

Dental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.

Online Dental Hygienist Schools

Glendale Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Glendale AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often 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 method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.

What to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of 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 condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Glendale AZ employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides 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, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glendale AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Glendale AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Glendale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Glendale

Choose the Best Glendale Dental Hygienist Program

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative 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 available to receive your education 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 junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.



 

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