Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Two Rivers AK 99716

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Two Rivers 99716

dental assistant training in Two Rivers AKPicking the right dental hygienist program near Two Rivers AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Function of a Dental Assistant

Two Rivers dental assistant helping dentist 99716Dental assistants are an essential component of any Two Rivers dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their primary 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 choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of Dental Hygienists

Two Rivers dental hygienist treating patient in AlaskaWhen contrasting the role of a Two Rivers dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:

  • Removing tartar, stains and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Two Rivers area dental practices or dentists.

Online Dental Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Two Rivers homeEnrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Two Rivers home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.

Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99716Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Two Rivers area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Two Rivers area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you decide on 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. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Two Rivers area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 might 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 best college for you.

Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Two Rivers area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Two Rivers dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alaska programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99716 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Two Rivers at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Find the Best Dental School near Two Rivers AK

Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. 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 best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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