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How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethPicking the ideal dental hygienist school near Oro Valley AZ is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider 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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below

The Job of Dental Hygienists

Oro Valley Arizona Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

Dental hygienists provide preventative oral care under a dentist's supervision. They clean patients' teeth and examine their mouths for signs of damage, gingivitis, and other diseases. Hygienists teach patients how to maintain good oral health. They also schedule appointments and keep records and may take and develop X-rays. Their scope of practice, which is the list of services they are legally allowed to deliver, differs according to the regulations of the state in which they practice. Dental hygienists generally are required to perform duties that include the following:

  • Complete a preliminary exam on each new dental service patient
  • Clean and remove stains, plaque, and tartar from teeth
  • Apply fluorides and sealants for tooth protection
  • Take dental x-rays and develop them
  • Administer local anesthetics to patients
  • Document treatment plans and care performed on patients
  • Examine each patient's oral health and communicate findings to dentists
  • Educate patients on how to care for their teeth with good oral hygiene, including proper brushing and flossing
Dental hygienists must also use several tools as part of their job. This includes hand, power, and ultrasonic tools for cleaning and polishing teeth, and x-ray machines for taking patient x-rays to check for issues with teeth and jaws.

Dental Hygienist Training and Licensing

How 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

Oro Valley Arizona Dental Hygienist cleaning plaque from woman's teethEnrolling in an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Oro Valley AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.

Topics to Ask Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. 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 Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oro Valley AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Oro Valley AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to receive 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 Oro Valley AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Oro Valley AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Oro Valley AZ dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Oro Valley AZ area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Oro Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Oro Valley

Choose the Best Oro Valley Dental Hygienist School

Selecting the right dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide 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 Oro Valley Arizona.



 

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