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How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist school near Green Valley AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating 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

Green Valley 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 Schooling and Licensing

How 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 Programs

Green Valley Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Green Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Green Valley AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Green Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Green Valley AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Green Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Green Valley AZ area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Green Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Green Valley

Choose the Best Green Valley Dental Hygienist Program

Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona.



 

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