How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Green Valley Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Green Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally 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 cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties 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 Green Valley 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 LicensingDental 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion 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 anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school 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 frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Green Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get 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 Green Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Green Valley AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Green Valley 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 Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find 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 must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Green Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Green Valley Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can choose 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Green Valley Arizona.