How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College Near Juneau Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Juneau AK is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the school'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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
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The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Juneau AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Juneau Alaska dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Juneau AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to 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 assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going 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 college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Juneau AK employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the program you select provides enough 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 school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Juneau AK dental office that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the Juneau AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need 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 higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Juneau AK dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Juneau AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Juneau AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Juneau AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Juneau Dental Hygienist Program
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska.