How to Select the Right Dental Hygiene College near Lakes Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Lakes AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, such as the school's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Lakes AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often 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 perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Lakes AK dental practices 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 community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a viable option for getting 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 available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Lakes AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Lakes AK, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors 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. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Lakes AK dental practices often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Lakes AK dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way 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 develop professional relationships in the Lakes AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 Lakes AK dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Lakes AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the costs related to 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 Lakes AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Lakes AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Lakes Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend 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 acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain 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 generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Lakes Alaska.