How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Clarks Point 99569
Picking the ideal dental assistant training near Clarks Point AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. 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 typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Clarks Point dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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
When contrasting the role of a Clarks Point dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of 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 interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional 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 take 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. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Clarks Point area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Clarks Point home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Clarks Point area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alaska programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clarks Point area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. 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, the majority of Clarks Point area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many Clarks Point area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Clarks Point dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Alaska colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99569 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Clarks Point in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need 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 issues.
Select the Right Dental School near Clarks Point AKSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically 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 typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.