How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Douglas 99824
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Douglas AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Douglas dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Douglas 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 assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to have 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Douglas area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Colleges
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Douglas home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. 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 get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Douglas area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Although these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Douglas area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Douglas area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Douglas area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Douglas dental practice. They make it easier for 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Alaska colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99824 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Douglas at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental School near Douglas AKPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.