How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Program Near Marana Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Marana AZ is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. 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 longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges 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 Education 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Marana AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school 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 typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Marana AZ dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Marana AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Marana Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal 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 acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount 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 schools normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.