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How to Become a Dental Hygienist in Alaska

Many people wish to become a dental hygienist in Alaska, but aren’t sure how to get started. The licensing and other requirements can cause confusion. It’s important to understand the licensing requirements that must be met to become a dental hygienist in the state of Alaska.

Anyone interested in this career can start in one of two ways. The first option involves individuals who have absolutely no work experience but have completed and passed the WREB exam. He or she must have passed the exam within the last five years, which requires a thorough examination.

Individuals who’ve already worked as a dental hygienist can apply for a license with their credentials, and this doesn’t require an examination like the other option. A fee of $85 must be paid to take the licensure exam. An additional $120 must be paid as a licensing fee.

An application that has been notarized and signed will be needed. Official transcripts that are from an accredited training program, a passing score on the WREB exam and a copy of a CPR certification are also needed.

Prior Education or Training Requirements

Applicants must have graduated from high school with specific coursework in English, math and science. The majority of dental hygienist programs in Alaska require the completion of the SAT, ACT or similar college entrance examination.

There are some schools that also require individuals to have passed the HOBET test. Community colleges usually offer two-year programs and provide a certificate or Associate’s degree. A lot of dental hygienist programs require individuals to have a college background before entering.

There is also the option of completing a four-year program, which awards a Bachelor’s degree. In most cases, an individual will spend the first two years completing all of the prerequisite courses.

Are Dental Hygienists Required To Be Certified?

A certification is required, so it’s important for anyone interested in becoming a dental hygienist to get certified. The process to get certified is actually quite simple.

First, an individual must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program. Second, he or she must successfully complete the written National Board Dental Hygiene Exam. Third, the Alaska clinical board examination must be successfully completed.

Is Continuing Education Necessary?

Since the field is always evolving, continuing education is needed as a dental hygienist. Individuals must complete a certain number of hours of continued education. If this continued education is not completed, it can be grounds for the denial of license renewal.

Dental Hygienist Salary in Alaska

The salary that a dental hygienist can make can be quite lucrative, and in most areas of Alaska, the salary is above the national average. Depending on the exact area of Alaska, salaries can range from $65,000 to $77,000 annually. Total population and overall competitiveness are two of the factors that shape the annual salary of a dental hygienist in Alaska.

Job Duties and Tasks

A dental hygienist will have daily duties. Some of these duties are polishing teeth, removing plaque, reviewing oral history and discussing acceptable flossing and brushing techniques. A dental hygienist might also operate an X-ray machine, which is used to take pictures of teeth.

Some of the tasks that a dental hygienist can legally perform are working with metal tooth components, sculpting materials that are used to fill cavities and administering N20. He or she might also remove stiches from a patient’s mouth or administer anesthesia.