How to Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Nikiski Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Nikiski AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, including 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 complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover 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 look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Nikiski AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Nikiski AK dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 vocational 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Nikiski AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain 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 program is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nikiski AK, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of 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 points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nikiski AK dental practices typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Nikiski AK dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Nikiski AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Nikiski AK dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the Nikiski AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending 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 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Nikiski AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Nikiski AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Nikiski Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nikiski Alaska.