How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Girdwood Alaska
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Girdwood AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Girdwood AK dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Girdwood AK dental offices 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 complete 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 component to the training as well| Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Girdwood AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically 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 appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Girdwood AK, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Girdwood AK employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Girdwood AK dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way 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 professional relationships in the Girdwood AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Girdwood AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment 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 feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Girdwood AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Girdwood AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, 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 attend classes near Girdwood AK in the evenings 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Girdwood AK?
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Originally called "Glacier City," Girdwood was founded as a supply camp for placer gold miners with claims along the creeks feeding Turnagain Arm. It was renamed for Colonel James Girdwood, a Belfast-born, Scots-Irish entrepreneur and linen merchant who staked the first four gold claims along Crow Creek in 1896.
Pick the Right Dental Hygienist College near Girdwood AK
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is crucial 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 a number of alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Girdwood AK.
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