How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Kotzebue Alaska
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Kotzebue AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Kotzebue AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees 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 responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Kotzebue AK dental office and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Kotzebue AK area junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Kotzebue AK area community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist college might be a viable option for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Kotzebue AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Kotzebue AK area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at 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 college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Kotzebue AK typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alaska college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Kotzebue AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Kotzebue AK program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Kotzebue AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges 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 Kotzebue AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alaska schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers 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 factors, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Kotzebue AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near your Kotzebue AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select 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 need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Dental Hygienist?When preparing to interview for a Dental Hygiene job, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Hygiene candidates is "What compelled you to choose Hygiene as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for being a Dental Hygienist, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Hygiene, along with a significant number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Since there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Hygienist and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down several ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Find the Best Dental Hygienist College near Kotzebue AK
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Kotzebue AK.
A Bit About Kotzebue Alaska
Kotzebue (/ˈkɒtsəbjuː/ KOTS-ə-bew) or Kikiktagruk (Inupiaq: Qikiqtaġruk [qekeqtɑʁʐuk]) is a city in the Northwest Arctic Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the borough's seat, by far its largest community and the economic and transportation hub of the subregion of Alaska encompassing the borough. The population of the city was 3,201 as of the 2010 census, up from 3,082 in 2000.
There is archaeological evidence that Inupiat people have lived at Kotzebue since at least the 15th century. Owing to its location and relative size, Kotzebue served as a trading and gathering center for the various communities in the region. The Noatak, Selawik and Kobuk Rivers drain into the Kotzebue Sound near Kotzebue to form a center for transportation to points inland. In addition to people from interior villages, inhabitants of the Russian Far East came to trade at Kotzebue. Furs, seal-oil, hides, rifles, ammunition, and seal skins were some of the items traded. People also gathered for competitions like the current World Eskimo Indian Olympics. With the arrival of the whalers, traders, gold seekers, and missionaries the trading center expanded.
Kotzebue was originally known as Qikiqtaġruk, which means "big island" in Iñupiatun, the language of the Iñupiat. Kotzebue gets its name from the Kotzebue Sound, which was named after Otto von Kotzebue, a Baltic German who explored the sound while searching for the Northwest Passage in the service of Russia in 1818.
Reindeer herding was introduced in the area in 1897. Although Alaska had caribou, the wild form of reindeer, the domesticated reindeer were brought to Alaska from Asia.
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