How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Training Program Near Eagle River Alaska
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Eagle River AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school's reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Job of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Eagle River Alaska dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental Hygienist Training and LicensingHow to become a dental hygienist depends on completing educational requirements, training and passing the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. Dental hygienists receive their education through academic programs at community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools or universities. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete, with graduates receiving associate degrees. Receipt of this degree allows a hygienist to take licensure examinations (national and state or regional), become licensed and to work in a dental office. Dental school and university-based dental hygiene programs may offer baccalaureate and master's degrees, which generally require at least two years of further schooling. These additional degrees may be required for a career in teaching and/or research, as well as for clinical practice in school or public health programs. Dental hygienists are licensed by each state to provide dental hygiene care and patient education. Almost all states require that dental hygienists be graduates of Commission on Dental Education-accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. And, almost all states require candidates for licensure to obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination (a comprehensive written examination) in addition to passing the state-authorized licensure examination.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Eagle River AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska, you can begin the procedure 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 colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eagle River AK employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Eagle River AK dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get 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 build professional relationships in the Eagle River AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Eagle River AK dental hygienist college 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 Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Eagle River AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Eagle River AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Eagle River Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal 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 available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska.