How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist program near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Function of Dental Hygienists
Dental hygienists are licensed healthcare professionals who provide preventive, educational and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients. They focus on preventing and treating dental diseases to improve oral health, in support of the patient’s overall health. The scope of practice for dental hygienists varies from state to state. Most dental hygienists perform oral health assessments; expose, process and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays); remove plaque, calculus and stain from the teeth; apply preventive materials including fluoride and sealants; teach patients proper oral hygiene techniques; and counsel patients on maintaining optimal oral health. In some states, dental hygienists can administer local anesthesia and nitrous oxide-oxygen sedation; prescribe fluoride and antimicrobial agents; place temporary restorations; and place permanent restorations. Clinical dental hygienists provide direct patient care in a variety of healthcare settings which include private dental offices, managed care organizations, schools, public health clinics, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Dental Hygienist Training 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 college might be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community 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 dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Havasu City AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method 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 professional relationships in the Lake Havasu City AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need help landing 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 are likely to have good reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Lake Havasu City AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist School
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish 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 alternatives available to obtain 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 schools typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.