How to Find the Best Dental Hygiene School Near New River Arizona
Picking the right dental hygienist college near New River AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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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 LicensingIndividuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school may be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your New River AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. 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 comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. New River AZ employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical 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 professional relationships in the New River AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at 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 New River AZ dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. 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 comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the New River AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near New River AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best New River Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.