How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Marana Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Marana AZ is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, for instance the school'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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Job 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 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 Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Marana AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With 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 prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach 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 best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marana AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough 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, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Marana AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 significant costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Marana AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Marana Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is essential 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 options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.