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Accredited Dental Hygienist Colleges | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Elmendorf Afb AK 99506

How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Elmendorf Afb 99506

dental assistant training in Elmendorf Afb AKSelecting the right dental hygienist training near Elmendorf Afb AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.

The Job of Dental Assistants

Elmendorf Afb dental assistant helping dentist 99506Dental assistants are an important component of any Elmendorf Afb dental practice and can perform a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
  • Purchasing dental and office supplies

Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Job of a Dental Hygienist

Elmendorf Afb dental hygienist treating patient in AlaskaWhen comparing the role of a Elmendorf Afb dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing plaque, tartar and stains
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Teaching patients regarding oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 offered at Alaska junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Elmendorf Afb area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Elmendorf Afb homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school might be a good option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Elmendorf Afb home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.

Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99506After you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Elmendorf Afb area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Elmendorf Afb area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Elmendorf Afb area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.

Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Elmendorf Afb area dental programs have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Elmendorf Afb dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.

Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska schools you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99506 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, 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 acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Elmendorf Afb at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical 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 issues.

Select the Right Dental College near Elmendorf Afb AK

Selecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.

 

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