How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Oro Valley Arizona
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Oro Valley AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually 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 explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs 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 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 Oro Valley 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 Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Oro Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
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 beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Oro Valley AZ employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Oro Valley AZ dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way 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 Oro Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Oro Valley AZ dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, 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 level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Oro Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Oro Valley Dental Hygienist Program
Picking 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 options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona.