How to Choose the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Eagle River Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Eagle River AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the program's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Eagle River AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth 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 tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing 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 OptionsBecause of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eagle River Alaska dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist school can be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Eagle River AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best 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 college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eagle River AK employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Eagle River AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Eagle River AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Eagle River AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Eagle River AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Eagle River AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Eagle River AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Right Eagle River Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively 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 receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining 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 appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska.