How to Select a Dental Hygienist School near Wrangell Alaska
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Wrangell AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Wrangell AK practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing 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 have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Wrangell AK dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Wrangell AK area community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have 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 Wrangell AK area trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Wrangell AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Wrangell AK area schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Wrangell AK frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the Alaska school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Wrangell AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Wrangell AK program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Wrangell 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 look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Wrangell AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Alaska programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Wrangell AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Wrangell AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Hygienist?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Hygiene position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that hiring managers frequently ask Dental Hygienist candidates is "What made you pick Hygiene as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Hygiene, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to address them. Considering there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you in addition to the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the best candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Pick the Ideal Dental Hygienist Program near Wrangell AK
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist program is imperative 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 fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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 Wrangell AK.
A Bit About Wrangell Alaska
The City and Borough of Wrangell (Tlingit: Ḵaachx̱aana.áakʼw) is a borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census the population was 2,369. Incorporated as a Unified Home Rule Borough on May 30, 2008, Wrangell was previously a city in the Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area (afterwards renamed the Petersburg Census Area (the Petersburg Borough was formed from part of this census area)). Its Tlingit name is Ḵaachx̱aana.áakʼw (“Ḵaachx̱an’s Little Lake” with áa-kʼw ‘lake-diminutive’). The Tlingit people residing in the Wrangell area, who were there centuries before Europeans, call themselves the Shtaxʼhéen Ḵwáan after the nearby Stikine River. Alternately they use the autonym Shxʼát Ḵwáan, where the meaning of shxʼát is unknown.
The central (urban) part of Wrangell is located at 56°28′15″N 132°22′36″W / 56.47083°N 132.37667°W / 56.47083; -132.37667, in the northwest corner of Wrangell Island, whereas the borough now encompasses the entire eastern half of the former Wrangell-Petersburg Census Area, in addition to the area around Meyers Chuck, which was formerly in the Prince of Wales-Outer Ketchikan Census Area. It also includes Thoms Place, a former census-designated place on Wrangell Island.
Tlingit people and their ancestors have inhabited this island for thousands of years. According to Naanyaa.aayí clan traditions, Tlingit people migrated down the Stikine River during a time when the river still flowed underneath glaciers. The population slowly moved down the river, settling in different locations such as Tlákw.aan "Ancient Village", Sʼiknáx̱ "Across from the Grass", Shaal.aan "Fish Trap Town", Xakw.aan "Sandbar Village", and Kayáash "Platform", Hehl (Xel/Xehl) "Foam People", Hehl being the senior of house of the village. Later settlements on the coast included Chʼuxʼáasʼaan "Waterfall Town" (now Mill Creek), Ḵeishangita.aan "Red Alder Head Village" (site of the Wrangell Institute at Shoemaker Bay), Kʼaatsʼḵu Noow "Among the Sharps Fort" (now Anita Bay), An.áan "Village that Rests" (now Anan Bear Viewing Area), and many others. The numerous petroglyphs found at Petroglyph Beach just north of Wrangell, as well as those scattered on the beaches of the many islands in the vicinity, attest to the long Tlingit occupation.
It is also known and somewhat forgotten, that first peoples coastal migration to the Stikine River happened from the south. The Nass River people had several migrations into the area. The "Git Setti" people tell of their migration story in a totem raised in Wrangell in 1894 called "Kickssetti" Totem.
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