How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist College near Anchorage Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Anchorage AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance 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 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Anchorage AK practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed 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 in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Anchorage AK dental offices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist college may be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Anchorage AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office 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 style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Anchorage AK, you can start the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for several online options also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anchorage AK employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Anchorage AK dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Anchorage AK dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the Anchorage AK dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense 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 factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the Anchorage AK area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Anchorage AK at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Anchorage AK?
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage) (Dena'ina Athabascan: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population.
Anchorage is located in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international flights and is home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Anchorage has won the All-America City Award four times: in 1956, 1965, 1984–85, and 2002, by the National Civic League. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax-friendly city in the United States.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Anchorage AK
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Anchorage AK.
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