How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Anaktuvuk Pass 99721
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Anaktuvuk Pass AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Anaktuvuk Pass dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Anaktuvuk Pass dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, 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 an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common 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 assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Anaktuvuk Pass area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Anaktuvuk Pass home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Anaktuvuk Pass area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alaska colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually 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 establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Anaktuvuk Pass area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Anaktuvuk Pass area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Anaktuvuk Pass area dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Anaktuvuk Pass 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 Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Alaska programs you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99721 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Anaktuvuk Pass at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Select the Best Dental Program near Anaktuvuk Pass AKEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.