How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Glendale Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Glendale AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should 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 available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of Dental Hygienists
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 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your training. 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 provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Glendale AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. 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 practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Glendale AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you select offers adequate 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, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Glendale AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Glendale AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Glendale AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Glendale AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate 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 if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Glendale AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Glendale AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Glendale Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your education 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Glendale Arizona.