How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene School Near Kingman Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Kingman AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including 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 two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs 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 Job 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 Training 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college can be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Kingman AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for 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 needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Kingman Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kingman AZ employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Kingman AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Kingman AZ dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Kingman AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Kingman AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Kingman AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Kingman Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the right 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 many alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kingman Arizona.