How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist School Near Marana Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Marana AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties 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 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 Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Marana AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Marana AZ employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional 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 Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Marana AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Marana AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Marana Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal 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 you now know, there are many options available to acquire your education 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. 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 as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.