Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Willow AK 99688

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Willow 99688

dental assistant training in Willow AKPicking the right dental assistant college near Willow AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.

The Duties of a Dental Assistant

Willow dental assistant helping dentist 99688Dental assistants are an essential part of any Willow dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:

  • Scheduling and verifying appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
  • Purchasing 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 working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Job of a Dental Hygienist

Willow dental hygienist treating patient in AlaskaWhen comparing the duties of a Willow dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Instructing patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

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 examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options

Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Willow area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Colleges

attending dental assistant school online in Willow homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Willow home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the ideal option for you.

Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99688After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Willow area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Willow area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Willow area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the right school for you.

Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Willow area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Willow dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alaska colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.

 What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99688 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Willow in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Pick the Best Dental School near Willow AK

Selecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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