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How to Pick the Right Dental Hygiene College near Kodiak Alaska

Kodiak Alaska dental hygienist examining man's teethSelecting the right dental hygienist school near Kodiak AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Kodiak Alaska dental hygienist examining boy's teeth

When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Kodiak AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:

    • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
    • Administering fluoride treatments
    • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
    • Educating patients about oral care
    • Taking and developing X-rays
    • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed in almost 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 Exam 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 Education Options

Kodiak Alaska dental hygienist checking female patient's teethAs a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Kodiak AK dental offices are normally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.

Dental Hygienist Online Schools

Choosing an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Kodiak AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical 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 receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.

Find Out More About Kodiak Dental Hygiene Schools

Subjects to Ask Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Kodiak AK, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kodiak AK dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Kodiak AK dental office that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way 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 form professional relationships in the Kodiak AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Kodiak AK dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Kodiak AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Kodiak AK area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Kodiak AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Choose the Best Kodiak Dental Hygienist Program

great smile with white teeth by Kodiak Alaska dental hygienistSelecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed.  As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kodiak Alaska.

 

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