How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Tanaina Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Tanaina AK is an essential initial step toward launching 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 selecting the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the program'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. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Tanaina AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's teeth and gums 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
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Tanaina AK dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Tanaina AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Tanaina AK, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing 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 right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Tanaina AK dental practices frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Tanaina AK dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Tanaina AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tanaina AK dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Tanaina AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Tanaina AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Tanaina AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Best Tanaina Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist course is important 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 a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 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 presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tanaina Alaska.