How to Pick the Best Dental Hygiene College Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Selecting the right dental hygienist college near Knik Fairview AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including 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 finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are analyzing 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
A dental hygienist cleans teeth, examines patients for oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provides other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health. Almost all Knik Fairview Alaska dental hygienists work in dental offices and work closely with dentists and dental assistants. A dental hygienist uses many types of tools to do their job. They clean and polish teeth with both hand and powered tools, as well as ultrasonic devices. In some cases, hygienists remove stains with an air polishing device, which sprays a combination of air, water, and baking soda. They polish teeth with a powered tool that works like an automatic toothbrush, and use x-ray machines to take pictures to check for tooth or jaw problems. Some other tasks of a dental hygienist include:
- Removing tartar, stains, and plaque from teeth
- Applying sealants and fluorides to help protect teeth
- Taking and developing dental x-rays
- Keeping track of patient care and treatment plans
- Teaching patients oral hygiene, such as how to brush and floss correctly
Dental hygienists help patients develop and keep good oral health. They may explain the relationship between diet and oral health. They also may give advice to patients on how to select toothbrushes and other oral-care devices.
Dental Hygienist Training and LicensingDental hygienists typically need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Bachelor's and master's degree programs in dental hygiene also are available, but are less common. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs. Dental hygiene programs are commonly found in community colleges, technical schools, and universities. In 2017, the Commission on Dental Accreditation, part of the American Dental Association, accredited more than 300 dental hygiene programs. Programs typically take 2 to 3 years to complete, and offer laboratory, clinical, and classroom instruction. Areas of study include physiology, nutrition, radiography, pathology, medical ethics, anatomy, patient management, and periodontics, which is the study of gum disease. Every state requires dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state. In most states, a degree from an accredited dental hygiene program and passing grades on written and clinical examinations are required for licensure. To maintain licensure, hygienists must complete continuing education requirements. For specific requirements, contact your state's Board of Dental Examiners.
Online Dental Hygienist Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Knik Fairview AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Knik Fairview AK employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most dental hygienist schools have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It's not only essential that the college you enroll in offers enough 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, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Knik Fairview AK dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to get 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 develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Knik Fairview AK dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Knik Fairview AK dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don't forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Knik Fairview AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Knik Fairview AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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.
Pick the Best Knik Fairview Dental Hygienist School
Picking the right dental hygienist program is important 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 several options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska.