How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Degree Program Near New River Arizona
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near New River AZ is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the college's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Function 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 New River 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 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable alternative for getting 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 rest of your classes will be available 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 attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical 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 obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in New River Arizona, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should 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 help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. New River AZ employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local New River AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the New River AZ dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the New River AZ dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the New River AZ area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near New River AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right New River Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential 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 available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in New River Arizona.