How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Galena 99741
Picking the right dental assistant college near Galena AK is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally 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 discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Galena dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental 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 most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Galena dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 also. A number of programs also offer internships with Galena area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Galena home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Galena area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Galena area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Galena area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Galena area dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Galena dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high 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 the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alaska programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99741 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Galena in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Galena AKChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam 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 obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.