How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near Maricopa Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Maricopa AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the college'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 two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing 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
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 Maricopa 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 LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Maricopa AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened 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 needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Maricopa Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to make 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 program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Maricopa AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical 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. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Maricopa AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering 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 Maricopa AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Maricopa AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount 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 besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs 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 associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Maricopa AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Maricopa AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Maricopa Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Maricopa Arizona.