How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene Course Near Eagle River Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Eagle River AK is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Eagle River AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the 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 each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsDue to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eagle River Alaska dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a viable alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Eagle River AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eagle River AK employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Eagle River AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the Eagle River AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eagle River AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger 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 Eagle River AK dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Eagle River AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near Eagle River AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical 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.
Pick the Right Eagle River Dental Hygienist Training
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska.