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How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Degree Program Near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist cleaning young boy's teethChoosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Juneau AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college'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 two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are assessing 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist applying fluoride young woman's teeth

A dental hygienist is an oral health professional who is responsible for preventing and treating oral diseases. Dental hygienists perform much of their work independently, with only general supervision from a licensed dentist. Dental hygienists are an important part of dentist-led teams. Their work removes a considerable burden from the dentist, freeing up the dentist to perform more advanced procedures. Therefore, it is quite common for dental hygienists to perform many of the preventive dental procedures in an office, such as teeth cleaning, examining patients for oral diseases and other preventative dental care. Hygienists will scrape the tartar and plaque off of your teeth and polish them. Hygienists also usually take X-rays of your teeth and gums, give patients a fluoride rinse, and apply sealants to the teeth to ward off cavities. A hygienist will also review ways to care for your teeth and overall health at home, offering tips on ways to brush and floss, and on what foods to avoid or to eat for a healthy mouth.

Dental Hygienist Schooling and Licensing

How do you become a dental hygienist? First, prospective dental hygienist students must receive a degree through an accredited academic program at a community college, technical college, dental school, or university. The majority of college programs take at least two years to complete. Upon earning this associate degree, a prospective hygienist may take licensure examinations to become licensed and work in a dental office. University-based dental hygiene programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, which typically require at least two years of further schooling. Individuals looking to eventually pursue a career in teaching and/or research often seek these degrees. Almost all states require dental hygienists to be graduates of accredited dental hygiene education programs to be eligible for state licensure. However, graduation from an accredited dental hygiene program is only part of the process. Almost all states require candidates for licensure to pass a state-authorized licensure examination and obtain a passing score on the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination before becoming certified as a dental hygienist. The state or regional examination is structured to test candidates’ clinical dental hygiene skills and other necessary dental topics.

Dental Hygienist Online Programs

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist removing tartar from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist college might be a great alternative for receiving your education. 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 provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Juneau AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.

What to Ask Dental  Hygienist Programs

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska, you can start the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options as well. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order 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. Juneau AK employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Juneau AK dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Juneau AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Juneau AK area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Juneau AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

More Info on How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Juneau

Pick the Best Juneau Dental Hygienist Training

Picking the right dental hygienist program is crucial if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering 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 asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska.



 

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