How to Enroll In the Best Dental Hygienist College Near Juneau Alaska
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Juneau AK is an important first step toward starting 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 selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the program's accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists usually 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 lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are reviewing 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 Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists 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 often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist's responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the "RDH" designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Schooling OptionsBecause of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Juneau Alaska dental practices are normally 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Juneau AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
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 prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly 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 instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Juneau AK employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Juneau AK dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to get 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out 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 degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don't forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be 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 assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to 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 addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Best Juneau Dental Hygienist School
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental hygienist programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 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 provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Juneau Alaska.