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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Oro Valley Arizona

Oro Valley Arizona dental hygienist cleaning man's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Oro Valley AZ is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the school'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 finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Oro Valley Arizona dental hygienist checking boy's teeth

When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Oro Valley AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:

    • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
    • Educating patients regarding oral care
    • Taking X-rays and developing film
    • Applying fillings and removing sutures

In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist Training Options

Oro Valley Arizona dental hygienist examining female patient's teethDue to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Oro Valley AZ dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Dental Hygienist Online Programs

Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Oro Valley AZ home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.

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Questions to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Colleges

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Oro Valley AZ, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Oro Valley AZ dental practices typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Oro Valley AZ dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Oro Valley AZ dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Oro Valley AZ dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Oro Valley AZ dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical 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 significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available 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 need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Oro Valley AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Choose the Best Oro Valley Dental Hygienist Courses

great smile with clean teeth by Oro Valley Arizona dental hygienistEnrolling in the right dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed.  As you now know, there are numerous options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Oro Valley Arizona.

 

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