How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist School near Homer Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Homer 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 college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and assists the Homer AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Homer AK dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require 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 trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Homer AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Homer AK, you can start the process of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant 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 supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Homer AK employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental hygienist colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Homer AK dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective way to obtain 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 develop professional relationships in the Homer AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Homer AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment 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 couple of classes at the Homer AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Homer AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Homer AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Homer AK?
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
As with much of South Central Alaska, Homer has a moderate subarctic coastal climate (Köppen Dsc) which causes its weather to be moderate compared to interior Alaska. Winters are snowy and long but not particularly cold, considering the latitude, with the average January high only slightly below freezing. Snow averages 50 inches (127 cm) per season, falling primarily from November through March, with some accumulation in October and April, and rarely in May. Homer receives only about 25 inches of rainfall annually due to the influence of the Chugach Mountains to the southeast which shelter it from the Gulf of Alaska. There are 7 nights of sub-0 °F (−18 °C) lows annually, and the area straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 5B and 6A, indicating an average annual minimum of around −10 °F (−23 °C). Summers are cool due to the marine influence, with 75 °F (24 °C) highs or 55 °F (13 °C) lows being extremely rare. Extreme temperatures have ranged from −24 °F (−31 °C) on January 28–29, 1989 up to 84 °F (29 °C) on July 22, 2011.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist School near Homer AK
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to 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 ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Homer AK.
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