How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Wainwright 99782
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Wainwright AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Wainwright dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. 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 elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Wainwright dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. 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 encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges along with 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 comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the increased 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 take 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Wainwright area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Wainwright home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Wainwright area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alaska schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Wainwright area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose has 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 work as a hygienist, a large number of Wainwright 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 school has a good reputation as well as 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, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Wainwright area dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Wainwright 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 are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alaska programs you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if 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 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 expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99782 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Wainwright in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Wainwright AKEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools 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 typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.