How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene School near Knik Fairview Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Knik Fairview AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college'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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Knik Fairview AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual 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 present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Knik Fairview AK dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Knik Fairview AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview AK, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Knik Fairview AK dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Knik Fairview AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Knik Fairview AK dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the colleges you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large 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 college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Knik Fairview AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Knik Fairview AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Knik Fairview Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska.