How to Choose the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Mesa Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Mesa AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as 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 accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
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 Mesa 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 Training and LicensingHow 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.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Mesa AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Mesa Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college 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. Mesa AZ employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Mesa AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Mesa AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Mesa AZ dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Mesa AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Mesa AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Mesa AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Mesa Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Mesa Arizona.