How to Pick a Dental Hygienist Program near Skagway Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Skagway AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Skagway AK practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one 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 report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Skagway AK dental office and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Skagway AK area junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Skagway AK area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Skagway AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Skagway AK area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good 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 prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Employers in Skagway AK often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alaska college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Skagway AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Skagway AK school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Skagway AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene colleges require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Skagway AK dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Alaska schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Skagway AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Skagway AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist job, it's advantageous to review questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Hygiene applicants is "What compelled you to choose Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the best choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Skagway AK
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Skagway AK.
A Bit About Skagway Alaska
The Municipality and Borough of Skagway is a first-class borough in Alaska on the Alaska Panhandle. As of the 2010 census, the population was 968. Estimates put the 2015 population at 1,057 people. The population doubles in the summer tourist season in order to deal with more than 900,000 visitors. Incorporated as a borough on June 25, 2007, it was previously a city (urban Skagway located at 59°27′30″N 135°18′50″W / 59.45833°N 135.31389°W / 59.45833; -135.31389) in the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area (now the Hoonah–Angoon Census Area).
The port of Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, and the tourist trade is a big part of the business of Skagway. The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad, part of the area's mining past, is now in operation purely for the tourist trade and runs throughout the summer months. Skagway is also part of the setting for Jack London's book The Call of the Wild, Will Hobbs's book Jason's Gold, and for Joe Haldeman's novel, Guardian. The John Wayne film North to Alaska (1960) was filmed nearby.
The name Skagway is derived from shԍagéi, a Tlingit idiom which figuratively refers to rough seas in the Taiya Inlet, that are caused by strong north winds. (See, "Etymology and the Mythical Stone Woman", below.)
Skagway was derived from shԍagéi, a Tlingit idiom which figuratively refers to rough seas in the Taiya Inlet, that are caused by strong north winds.Literally, shԍagéi means beautiful woman. The word is also a gerund (verbal noun), derived from the Tlingit verb theme -sha-ka-l-ԍéi, which means, in the case of a woman, to be beautiful.
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