How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist College near Bethel Alaska
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Bethel AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance 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 finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Bethel AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 Exam 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, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Bethel AK dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a viable option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Bethel AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Bethel AK, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided 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 College Accredited? There are several 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. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Bethel AK employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist schools have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Bethel AK dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Bethel AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Bethel AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses 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 colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Bethel AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Bethel AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Bethel AK?
Bethel (Mamterilleq in Central Alaskan Yup'ik) is the largest community on the Kuskokwim river, located approximately 50 mi (80 km) upriver from where the river flows into Kuskokwim Bay. Bethel is the largest community in western Alaska and in the Unorganized Borough, as well as the 9th largest in the state, with a population of 6,080 as of the 2010 Census. Bethel is home to the lone detention center in southwestern Alaska, the Yukon Kuskokwim Correction Center.
Southwestern Alaska was the traditional place of Yup'ik people and their ancestors for thousands of years. They called their village Mamterillermiut, meaning "Smokehouse People", after their nearby fish smokehouse. It was an Alaska Commercial Company trading post during the late 19th century, and had a population of 41 people in the 1880 U.S. Census.
In 1885, the Moravian Church established a mission in the area under the leadership of Rev. William Weinland and Caroline (born Yost)  and John Henry Kilbuck, Jr., a Lenape, and his wife Edith, a daughter and granddaughter of Moravian missionaries in Kansas. They both learned Yup'ik, which greatly enhanced their effectiveness as missionaries. He made Yup'ik the language of the Moravian Church in the community and region, and helped translate scripture into the people's language. The missionaries moved Bethel from Mamterillermiut to its present location on the west side of the Kuskokwim River. A United States post office was opened in 1905.
Alaska Natives in this area have had a long Christian history, in part from Russian Orthodox, Catholic and Moravian influence. As in many Alaska Native villages, Christian tradition has become interwoven with the people's original culture.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Bethel AK
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist course is important if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs typically receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to 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 appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Bethel AK.
More Great Cities in Alaska