How to Find the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Ketchikan Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Ketchikan AK is an essential initial 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 choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Ketchikan AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination as well as 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
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Ketchikan AK dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Ketchikan AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Ketchikan AK, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, 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. Ketchikan AK dental practices typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Ketchikan AK dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Ketchikan AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Ketchikan AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Ketchikan AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Ketchikan AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Right Ketchikan Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Ketchikan Alaska.