How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Oro Valley Arizona
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Oro Valley AZ is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Duties 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 Schooling 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember 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 desktop computer in the comfort of your Oro Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Points 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 schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Oro Valley AZ employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Oro Valley AZ dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Oro Valley AZ dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement 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 as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Oro Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Oro Valley AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Oro Valley AZ at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose 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 due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Oro Valley Dental Hygienist Program
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally 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 elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona.