How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near North Pole Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near North Pole AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, such as the college’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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the North Pole AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in North Pole AK dental practices are generally required to hold 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 nearly 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 component to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school might be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember 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 accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your North Pole AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Schools
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in North Pole AK, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. North Pole AK employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local North Pole AK dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical 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 establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the North Pole AK dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the programs you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the North Pole AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the North Pole AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near North Pole AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near North Pole AK?
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2016 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,232, up from 1,570 in 2000.
The name "North Pole" is often applied to the entire area covered by its zip code, 99705. This area stretches between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, and between the Chena River and the Tanana River, including subdivisions off of Badger Road, a loop road connecting the eastern edge of Fairbanks city limits with North Pole city limits, and in the nearby census-designated place of Moose Creek. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole is home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, is a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.
While the real North Pole has no terra firma many travelers discovered this town as an ideal way to finally visit the home of Santa Claus. That revelation made this small town in Alaska a must visit during the holidays causing the town to create more and more Santa Claus themed attractions. Its biggest attraction is a gift shop named Santa Claus House, the modern-day incarnation of a trading post established in the town's early days. The Santa Claus House is known for the world's largest fiberglass statue of Santa Claus outside.
Choose the Right Dental Hygienist School near North Pole AK
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in North Pole AK.
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