How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Green Valley Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Green Valley AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program'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 complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.
Dental Hygienist Education and LicensingHow do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Green Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Green Valley AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Green Valley AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Green Valley AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Green Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Green Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Green Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Green Valley Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona.