How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors 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 finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
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 Schooling 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 can be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Lake Havasu City AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask 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 programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Lake Havasu City AZ employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Lake Havasu City AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Lake Havasu City AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Lake Havasu City AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Lake Havasu City Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lake Havasu City Arizona.