How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene Degree Program near Knik Fairview Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Knik Fairview AK is an essential first step toward starting 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 training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the program'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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. 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 may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may 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 Knik Fairview AK dental offices are generally 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 complete 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Knik Fairview AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice 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 dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview AK, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Knik Fairview AK dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Knik Fairview AK dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best means to obtain 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Knik Fairview AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the schools you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Knik Fairview AK dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Knik Fairview AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Knik Fairview AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required 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 work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Knik Fairview Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend 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 options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska.