How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Seward 99664
Picking the right dental assistant program near Seward AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving 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 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Seward dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification 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 more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Seward dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first 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 may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Seward area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Seward home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Seward area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Seward area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose offers the program that you want. 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 Seward area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and 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 could 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 school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Seward area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Seward dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alaska schools you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99664 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Seward in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, 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 work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental Program near Seward AKPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.