How to Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Knik Fairview AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the school's accreditation and reputation. 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. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let's review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
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The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Knik Fairview AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. 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 duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 Schooling OptionsBecause of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Knik Fairview Alaska dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Choosing an online dental hygienist school might be a viable alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Knik Fairview AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Knik Fairview AK employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Knik Fairview AK dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Knik Fairview AK dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the schools you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Knik Fairview AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Knik Fairview AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Knik Fairview AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Knik Fairview Dental Hygienist Program
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska.