How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist School Near Eagle River Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Eagle River AK is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let's explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your Dental Hygienist Career Below
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly 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, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training OptionsBecause of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eagle River Alaska dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Eagle River AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eagle River AK employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Eagle River AK dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical 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 professional relationships in the Eagle River AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eagle River AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Eagle River AK dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don't forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make 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 selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers 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 at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Eagle River Dental Hygienist Training
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to obtain your education 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 junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect 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 better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska.