How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College near Steele Creek Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Steele Creek AK is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program's accreditation and reputation. 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Steele Creek AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Steele Creek AK dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Steele Creek AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Steele Creek AK, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college 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. Steele Creek AK dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Steele Creek AK dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Steele Creek AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Steele Creek AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Steele Creek AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Steele Creek AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Steele Creek Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want 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 acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend 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 ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Steele Creek Alaska.