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How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Marana Arizona

Marana Arizona Dental Hygienist examining young child's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Marana AZ is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.

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The Function of a Dental Hygienist

Marana Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride woman's teeth

A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Marana Arizona dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:

  • Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
  • Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
  • Taking and developing dental x-rays
  • Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
  • Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly

Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.

Dental Hygienist Schooling and Licensing

How to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.

Dental Hygienist Online Training

Marana Arizona Dental Hygienist removing plaque from young woman's teethSelecting an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Marana AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marana AZ employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Marana AZ dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Marana AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Marana AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Marana AZ area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Marana AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.

Find Out How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Marana

Pick the Right Marana Dental Hygienist Program

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Marana Arizona.



 

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