How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Knik Fairview Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Knik Fairview AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the school'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should 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 offered.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 Knik Fairview AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually 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 perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Knik Fairview AK dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Knik Fairview AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview AK, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the schools you are looking at in order to arrive at 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 best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Knik Fairview AK dental practices 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, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Knik Fairview AK dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way 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 create professional relationships in the Knik Fairview AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Check 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 Knik Fairview AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal 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 attend a couple of classes at the Knik Fairview AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost 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 if they are public or private also come into play. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Knik Fairview AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Knik Fairview AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Knik Fairview Dental Hygienist Courses
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska.