How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Program Near Goodyear Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Goodyear AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, including the college'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive 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 reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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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 Goodyear 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Goodyear AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Goodyear AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Goodyear AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Goodyear AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Goodyear AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Goodyear AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Goodyear AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Goodyear Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Goodyear Arizona.