How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Tanacross Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Tanacross AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, 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 cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Tanacross AK practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once 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 Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Tanacross AK dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Tanacross AK area community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 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 classes. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Tanacross AK area vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable alternative 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 rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Tanacross AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending 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 such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Tanacross AK area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Tanacross AK frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alaska college you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Tanacross AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and 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 might 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 best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Tanacross AK college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Tanacross AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tanacross AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the Alaska programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as 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 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, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Tanacross AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Tanacross AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical 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.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygienist position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What compelled you to select Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Hygiene, along with a certain number of general interview questions, so you must ready several ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Hygienist and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Tanacross AK
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tanacross AK.
A Bit About Tanacross Alaska
Tanacross (Taats’altęy in Tanacross Athabascan) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 136, down from 140 in 2000. It hosts an air tanker base.
Tanacross, initially founded as a telegraph station called Tanana Crossing (also known as St. Timothy's). The name was shortened to Tanacross before 1940. The village was initially located on the north bank of the Tanana River. An airstrip was built on the south bank during the mid-1930s and upgraded for military use during World War II in 1941-42. Thousands of troops deployed through Tanacross during the period. The airfield was closed after the war. In 1972, the town itself relocated south across the river due to water contamination. In 1979, the old village burned due to an uncontrolled grass fire.
Tanacross is located at 63°22′34″N 143°21′25″W / 63.37611°N 143.35694°W / 63.37611; -143.35694 (63.376206, -143.356991).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 81.2 square miles (210 km2), of which, 80.0 square miles (207 km2) of it is land and 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) of it (1.38%) is water.
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