How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Bethel Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Bethel AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the program'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role 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 assists the Bethel AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bethel AK dental practices are usually 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 finish 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Bethel AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bethel AK, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few 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 assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bethel AK dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Bethel AK dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bethel AK dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Bethel AK 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 Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bethel AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Bethel AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 emergencies.
Pick the Right Bethel Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. 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 best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bethel Alaska.