Top Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Kodiak AK 99615

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Kodiak 99615

dental assistant training in Kodiak AKPicking the ideal dental hygienist training near Kodiak AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Kodiak dental assistant helping dentist 99615Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Kodiak dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Ordering dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Kodiak dental hygienist treating patient in AlaskaWhen contrasting the duties of a Kodiak dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Alaska community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Kodiak area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Kodiak homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Kodiak home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.

Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99615Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Kodiak area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, 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. Kodiak area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited programs.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Kodiak area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Kodiak area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides sufficient 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, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Kodiak 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 are attractive on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alaska colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99615 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Kodiak at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Choose the Best Dental Program near Kodiak AK

Picking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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