How to Choose a Dental Hygienist Program near Tok Alaska
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Tok AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish 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 complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Tok AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Tok AK dental practice and can undertake a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Tok AK area community colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in Tok AK area vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Tok AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Tok AK area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Tok AK often desire 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 available for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alaska school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. 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, a large number of Tok AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Tok AK school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Tok AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene schools need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Tok AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Tok AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Tok AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's helpful to review questions you could be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygienist applicants is "What compelled you to decide on Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Hygienist, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Hygiene, along with a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Tok AK
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Tok AK.
A Bit About Tok Alaska
Tok /ˈtoʊk/ is a census-designated place (CDP) in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. The population was 1,258 at the 2010 census, down from 1,393 in 2000.
Tok lies on a large, flat alluvial plain of the Tanana Valley between the Tanana River and the Alaska Range at an important junction of the Alaska Highway (Alaska Route 2) with the Glenn Highway (Alaska Route 1). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 132.3 square miles (343 km2), all of it land.
Tok has a dry-winter continental subarctic climate (Köppen Dwc). The weather station is at 1620 feet above sea level.
Tok first appeared on the 1950 U.S. Census as the unincorporated village of "Tok Junction." The name was shortened to Tok as of the 1960 census. It was made a census-designated place (CDP) in 1980.
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