How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist Course Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally 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 explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
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 Training and LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lake Havasu City AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Lake Havasu City AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Lake Havasu City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist School
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important 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 acquire 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 community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.