How to Find the Right Dental Hygiene Training Program near College Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near College AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must 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 program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, such as the college'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the College AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. 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
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in College 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your College AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical 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 get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in College AK, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. College AK dental practices frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local College AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical 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 build professional relationships in the College AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the College AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the College AK dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 examining the cost of programs, don't forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the College AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near College AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right College Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in College Alaska.