How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Kodiak Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Kodiak AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Kodiak AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Kodiak AK dental offices are often 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 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. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Kodiak AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area 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 method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Kodiak AK, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Kodiak AK dental practices often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an 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 practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Kodiak AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Kodiak AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ 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 public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Kodiak AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Kodiak AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Kodiak Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain 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 programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kodiak Alaska.