How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Training Program near Wasilla Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Wasilla AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the college'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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Wasilla AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient's teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Wasilla 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 virtually every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Wasilla AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Wasilla AK, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at 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 Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Wasilla AK dental practices frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Wasilla AK dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Wasilla AK dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Wasilla AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Wasilla AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Wasilla AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Wasilla Dental Hygienist Courses
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain 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 junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Wasilla Alaska.