How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygiene Program Near Eagle River Alaska
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Eagle River AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including the college's accreditation and reputation. 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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let's look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role 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 dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsDue to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eagle River Alaska dental practices are normally 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 finish 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 practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Eagle River AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eagle River AK employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the program you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Eagle River AK dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eagle River AK dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the schools you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Eagle River AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 programs, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Eagle River AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Eagle River AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 emergencies.
Choose the Right Eagle River Dental Hygienist Program
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 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 decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Eagle River Alaska.