How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Bethel 99559
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Bethel AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Bethel dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Bethel dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After 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 Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Bethel area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Bethel home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Bethel area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alaska colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bethel area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Bethel area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school 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 Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Many Bethel area dental schools have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Bethel 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alaska programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical 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 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 include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99559 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting 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 getting your education and have to attend classes near Bethel at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental College near Bethel AKEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.