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How to Select the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Lake Havasu City Arizona

Lake Havasu City Arizona Dental Hygienist cleaning young boy's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the program'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 finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.

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The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Lake Havasu City Arizona Dental Hygienist cleaning 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 Training 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.

Online Dental Hygienist Training

Lake Havasu City Arizona Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Havasu City AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Lake Havasu City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required 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 because of illness, work or family issues.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Lake Havasu City

Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist Program

Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your training 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. 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 in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.



 

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