How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Pilot Station 99650
Picking the right dental assistant school near Pilot Station AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Pilot Station dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying 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 differ 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 licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Pilot Station dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Pilot Station area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Pilot Station home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Pilot Station area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Pilot Station area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Pilot Station area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Pilot Station area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pilot Station 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 Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help getting their first job. Find out if the colleges 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 in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alaska colleges you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99650 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to attend classes near Pilot Station in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Pilot Station AKChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.