How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Naknek 99633
Selecting the right dental hygienist training near Naknek AK is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate 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 school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Naknek dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Naknek dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added 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 take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Naknek area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Naknek home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice 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 style of education, you might find that attending an online dental school is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Naknek area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alaska schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Naknek area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Naknek area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Many Naknek area dental colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Naknek dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher 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 internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Alaska programs you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99633 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Naknek in the evenings 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 procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Naknek AKChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.