How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program Near Payson Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Payson AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, including the college'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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore 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 Payson 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 Education and LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Payson AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Payson Arizona, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Payson AZ employers often 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 colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Payson AZ dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Payson AZ dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Payson AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate 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 come into play. But in addition to 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Payson AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Payson AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Payson Dental Hygienist School
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is crucial if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education 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 obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Payson Arizona.