How to Select the Best Dental Hygiene School Near Knik Fairview Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Knik Fairview AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, including the college'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. Naturally with the lengthier 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 programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let's review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
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The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient's gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist's duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered 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 employed 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 two to as long as three 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 practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Knik Fairview AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Knik Fairview AK employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist colleges have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It's not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient 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, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Knik Fairview AK dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method 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 form professional relationships in the Knik Fairview AK dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Knik Fairview AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the schools you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the Knik Fairview AK dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Knik Fairview AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly 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 select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Knik Fairview Dental Hygienist School
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental hygienist programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Knik Fairview Alaska.