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Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Sitka AK, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Sitka AK dental practices often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Sitka AK dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to receive 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 build professional relationships in the Sitka AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Sitka AK dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Sitka AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Sitka AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Sitka AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.