How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Wasilla Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Wasilla AK is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance 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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job 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 in support of the Wasilla AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Degree Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Wasilla AK dental practices are often required to hold 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 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Wasilla AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option 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 covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of 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 condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive 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 requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you select provides enough 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Wasilla AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Wasilla AK dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Wasilla AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Wasilla AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Wasilla AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Wasilla Dental Hygienist Courses
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Wasilla Alaska.