How to Pick a Dental Hygienist School near Tucson Arizona
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Tucson AZ is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, such as 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 more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Tucson AZ dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Tucson AZ dental practices are normally required to hold 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 virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well| A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tucson AZ home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tucson AZ, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs 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 ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tucson AZ employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Tucson AZ dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tucson AZ dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Tucson AZ dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tucson AZ area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Tucson AZ in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Tucson AZ?
Tucson (/ˈtuːsɒn/ /tuːˈsɒn/) is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is  located 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 53rd largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, Sahuarita south of the city, and South Tucson in an enclave south of downtown. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson (some within or overlapping the city limits) include Casas Adobes, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Midvale Park, Tanque Verde, Tortolita, and Vail. Towns outside the Tucson metro area include Benson to the southeast, Catalina and Oracle to the north, and Green Valley to the south.
The Spanish name of the city, Tucsón [tukˈson], is derived from the O'odham Cuk Ṣon [tʃʊk ʂɔːn], meaning "(at the) base of the black [hill]", a reference to a basalt-covered hill now known as Sentinel Peak, also known as "A" Mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo".
Tucson was probably first visited by Paleo-Indians, known to have been in southern Arizona about 12,000 years ago. Recent archaeological excavations near the Santa Cruz River have located a village site dating from 2100 BC. The floodplain of the Santa Cruz River was extensively farmed during the Early Agricultural Period, circa 1200 BC to AD 150. These people constructed irrigation canals and grew corn, beans, and other crops while gathering wild plants and hunting. The Early Ceramic period occupation of Tucson saw the first extensive use of pottery vessels for cooking and storage. The groups designated as the Hohokam lived in the area from AD 600 to 1450 and are known for their vast irrigation canal systems and their red-on-brown pottery.
Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Tucson AZ
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you wish 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 available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tucson AZ.
More Great Cities in Arizona
Business Results 1 - 10 of 146