How to Enroll In the Right Dental Hygiene Course Near Juneau Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist college near Juneau AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance 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 discuss 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 explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Juneau AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient's teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- 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 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education OptionsAs a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Juneau Alaska dental offices are normally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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. Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist program can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Juneau AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Juneau AK employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only important that the program you enroll in offers 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, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Juneau AK dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive 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 build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges need help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Juneau AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 colleges, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out 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 verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Juneau AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Juneau Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska.