How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near Bethel Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Bethel AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bethel AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bethel AK dental practices are often 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Bethel AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bethel AK, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bethel AK dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Bethel AK dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Bethel AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Bethel AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the colleges you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Bethel AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Bethel AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Bethel AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Bethel Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to receive your training 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, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bethel Alaska.