How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near New River Arizona
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near New River AZ is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the program'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. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at 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 Dental Hygienists
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.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your New River AZ home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program 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 certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New River AZ employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the New River AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the New River AZ dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the New River 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 suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near New River AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best New River Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many 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 education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.