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Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anchorage Alaska, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anchorage AK employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anchorage AK dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the Anchorage AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Anchorage AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Anchorage AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anchorage AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Anchorage AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.