How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Clam Gulch 99568
Picking the right dental assistant program near Clam Gulch AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Clam Gulch dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Clam Gulch dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensing 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Clam Gulch area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable alternative for receiving your training. 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 available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Clam Gulch home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Clam Gulch area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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. Clam Gulch area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, most Clam Gulch area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 best college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many Clam Gulch area dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Clam Gulch dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alaska colleges you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors 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 volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99568 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Clam Gulch in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Find the Right Dental College near Clam Gulch AKPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount 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 normally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.