How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Eagle River Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Eagle River AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the school's accreditation and reputation. 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. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Eagle River AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Eagle River Alaska dental offices 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 almost 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Eagle River AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
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 opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the schools 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 evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eagle River AK employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Eagle River AK dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job placement 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 broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Eagle River AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask 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 verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Eagle River AK in the evenings 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 procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Eagle River Dental Hygienist Training
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska.