How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Arctic Village 99722
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Arctic Village AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Arctic Village dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a Arctic Village dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. 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 stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once 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 and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Arctic Village area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Arctic Village home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Arctic Village area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Arctic Village area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Arctic Village area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Arctic Village area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Arctic Village 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 too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alaska schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99722 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Arctic Village at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental School near Arctic Village AKChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training 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, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.