How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist School near Galena Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Galena AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Galena AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may 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 hygiene
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Galena AK dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Galena AK area junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Galena AK area community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Galena AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Galena AK area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose 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 Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Galena AK often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alaska school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Galena AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides enough 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, make sure that the Galena AK program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Galena AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Galena AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Galena AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Galena AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Hygienist?When prepping to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What drove you to choose Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and abilities you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, in addition to a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Because there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the ideal choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Galena AK
Picking the ideal dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Galena AK.
A Bit About Galena Alaska
Galena (/ɡəˈliːnə/) (Notaalee Denh in Koyukon) is a city in the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 470, with a 2016 estimate of 488 inhabitants. Galena was established in 1918, and a military airfield was built adjacent to the city during World War II. The city was incorporated in 1971.
The Koyukon Athabascans had seasonal camps in the area and moved as the wild game migrated. In the summer many families floated on rafts to the Yukon River to fish for salmon. There were 12 summer fish camps located on the Yukon River between the Koyukuk River and the Nowitna River. Galena was established in 1918 near an Athabascan fish camp called Henry's Point. It became a supply and point for nearby lead ore mines that opened in 1918 and 1919.
In 1941 and 1942, during World War II, a military air field was built adjacent to the civilian airport, and the two facilities shared the runway and flight line facilities. This air field was designated Galena Air Force Station shortly after the split of the United States Air Force from the United States Army, which occurred as a result of the National Security Act of 1947. During the 1950s, the construction of additional military facilities at Galena and the nearby Campion Air Force Station, in support of Galena's mission as a forward operating base under the auspices of the 5072nd Air Base Group, headquartered at Elmendorf Air Force Base, near Anchorage, provided improvements to the airport and the local infrastructure, causing economic growth for the area.
Following the end of the Cold War, in 1993, operation of Galena Air Force Station was turned over to a contractor, and all military personnel were withdrawn with only small groups of active personnel visiting the base on an as-needed basis. The former military facility remains in use effectively as a forward operating location that is used occasionally by the military. This use came under scrutiny by the Base Realignment and Closure Committee in the late 2000s and was officially closed October 1, 2010. The Air Force retains responsibility for toxin cleanup in the area and engineers from Eielson Air Force Base in Fairbanks still visit the site on occasion. The base is now totally controlled by the City of Galena, the Galena School District and the Alaska Department of Transportation. The Alaska Wing of the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) was pursuing[when?] retaining one of the F-16 fighter hangars as a CAP facility for the CAP Wing in Galena, the "Yukon Squadron".
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