How to Find the Right Dental Hygienist Training Program near Soldotna Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist college near Soldotna AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program’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 complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Soldotna AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first 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. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost 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 Examination as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have completed 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
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Soldotna AK dental offices are usually 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 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 aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist school can be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember 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 desktop computer in the convenience of your Soldotna AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Soldotna AK, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Soldotna AK employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Soldotna AK dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get 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 working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Soldotna AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Soldotna AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Soldotna AK area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Soldotna AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Soldotna AK?
Soldotna is a home rule city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. At the 2010 census the population was 4,163, up from 3,759 in 2000. It is the seat of the Kenai Peninsula Borough.
Soldotna is located in the Southcentral portion of Alaska on the central-western portion of the Kenai Peninsula. The city limits span 7 square miles along the Kenai River, which empties into the Cook Inlet in the nearby city of Kenai. The Kenai River was selected by CNN Travel as one of the "World's 15 Best Rivers for Travelers," due to its fishing and hunting opportunities. Soldotna is located on the western edge of the vast Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area spanning nearly 2 million acres and home to bears, moose, caribou, sheep, and many fish and bird species.
The city is located at the junction of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway, which has enabled Soldotna to develop as a service and retail hub for the Central Peninsula as well as for travelers between Anchorage and Homer. The Central Peninsula Hospital serves the medical needs of the region's residents and tourists. The Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage, operates the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna. Additionally, the headquarters of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are located in the city.
In 1947, after World War II, the United States government withdrew a number of townships along Cook Inlet and the lower Kenai River from the Kenai National Moose Range, opening up the area to settlement under the Homestead Act. Veterans of the United States armed services were given a 90-day preference over non-veterans in selecting land and filing for property. Also in that year, the Sterling Highway right-of-way was cleared of trees from Cooper Landing to Kenai. The location of present-day Soldotna was selected as the site for the highway's bridge crossing the Kenai River.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Soldotna AK
Picking the right dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Soldotna AK.
More Great Cities in Alaska