How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist School near Whittier Alaska
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Whittier AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, including 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. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Whittier AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting 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 room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Whittier AK dental practices are generally required to have 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 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 practical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist program can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% 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 convenience of your Whittier AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Whittier AK, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Whittier AK employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental hygienist colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Whittier AK dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the Whittier AK dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Whittier AK dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the Whittier AK dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Whittier AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Whittier AK in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Whittier AK?
Whittier is a city at the head of the Passage Canal in the U.S. state of Alaska, about 58 miles southeast of Anchorage. The city is within the Valdez–Cordova Census Area. The 2015 population estimate was 214 people, almost all of whom live in a single building. Whittier is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
The region occupied by Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to Prince William Sound. Later, the passage was used by Russian and American explorers, and by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The nearby Whittier glacier was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915, and the town eventually took the name as well.
During World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad near Whittier Glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
The two buildings that dominate the town were built after World War II. The 14-story Hodge Building (renamed Begich Towers) was completed in 1957 and contains 150 two- and three-bedroom apartments plus bachelor efficiency units. Dependent families and Civil Service employees were moved into this high-rise. The Whittier School was connected by a tunnel at the base of the west tower so students could safely access school on days with bad weather. The building was named in honor of Colonel Walter William Hodge, who was a civil engineer and the commanding officer of 93rd Engineer Regiment on the Alcan Highway.
Choose the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Whittier AK
Picking the right dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Whittier AK.
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