How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Kivalina 99750
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Kivalina AK is an important 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 performing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Kivalina dental practice and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their fundamental 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 opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check 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. Many 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 comparing the role of a Kivalina dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably 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, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually 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 nearly 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 offer internships with Kivalina area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Kivalina home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental college is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Kivalina area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should 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 assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, 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 ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kivalina area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you choose offers 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. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Kivalina area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Kivalina area dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Kivalina dental practice. They help 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 also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alaska programs you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99750 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Kivalina in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 responsibilities.
Find the Best Dental Program near Kivalina AKChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally 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 about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.