How to Select the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program near Nikiski Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Nikiski AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Nikiski AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility in contrast 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 two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Nikiski AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Nikiski AK, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Nikiski AK dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Nikiski AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal 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 develop professional relationships in the Nikiski AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges 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 Nikiski AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Nikiski AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Nikiski AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit 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 enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Nikiski Dental Hygienist Courses
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Nikiski Alaska.