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Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Hygienist near Barrow AK 99723

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Barrow 99723

dental assistant training in Barrow AKSelecting the right dental hygienist training near Barrow AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining 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 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.

The Job of a Dental Assistant

Barrow dental assistant helping dentist 99723Dental assistants are an integral component of any Barrow dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
  • Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Prepping X-ray machines and handling 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

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

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching 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 graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options

Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Barrow area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Barrow homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember 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 available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Barrow home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.

Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99723When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Barrow area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alaska colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal 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 program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Barrow area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.

Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Barrow 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 an excellent 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 might 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 ideal college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Barrow area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Barrow dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering 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 position their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alaska colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99723 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Barrow at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.

Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Barrow AK

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 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 credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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