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How to Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Course Near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist cleaning young child's teethSelecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Juneau AK is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, 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 two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.

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The Job of Dental Hygienists

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 Training and Licensing

Individuals wanting to become dental hygienists generally have two options: associate's degree programs or bachelor's degree programs. Most associate's degree programs take just two years to finish on a full-time basis. Bachelor's programs take four years to finish but can help you qualify for better jobs as well as those that pay more. And while bachelor's programs take longer to finish, these programs often include some clinical or practical work that helps you get familiar working with patients. Becoming a dental assistant or a hygienist requires that you get your license. According to the American Dental Association, most states require that hygienists have a degree from an accredited college or university and that they take an exam called the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. If you do not receive a passing score on this exam, you will have the chance to take it again. You may need to take a test administered by the state board as well. This test will ask general questions about oral health, teeth cleaning and other things that dental hygienists do.

Online Dental Hygienist Colleges

Juneau Alaska Dental Hygienist cleaning tartar from woman's teethChoosing an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for receiving 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 remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Juneau AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.

Points to Cover With Dental  Hygienist Schools

Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Juneau AK employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It's not only important that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Juneau AK dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Juneau AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Juneau AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered 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 hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Juneau AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Learn How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Juneau

Pick the Right Juneau Dental Hygienist Training

Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you wish 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 period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend 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 best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska.



 

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