Accredited Dental Assistant Training | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near South Naknek AK 99670

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near South Naknek 99670

dental assistant training in South Naknek AKPicking the right dental assistant program near South Naknek AK is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore 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 explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Role of Dental Assistants

South Naknek dental assistant helping dentist 99670Dental assistants are an integral component of any South Naknek dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Function of a Dental Hygienist

South Naknek dental hygienist treating patient in AlaskaWhen contrasting the duties of a South Naknek dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Applying fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Applying fillings and removing sutures

To qualify for licensing in almost 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant courses are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with South Naknek area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in South Naknek homeSelecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your South Naknek home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99670When you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing South Naknek area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. South Naknek area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.

Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many South Naknek area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school 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 strong 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, clearly it would not be the best college for you.

Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of South Naknek area dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real South Naknek dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Ask the Alaska programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99670 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near South Naknek in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.

Enroll in the Right Dental Program near South Naknek AK

Picking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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