How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Nikolski 99638
Selecting the right dental assistant program near Nikolski AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Nikolski dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Nikolski dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out 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 X-rays and developing film
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Nikolski area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind 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 accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Nikolski home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.
Topics to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Nikolski area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nikolski area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Nikolski area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Nikolski area dental programs have associations with local dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Nikolski dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska programs you are evaluating how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, 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 costs which can add up. They can include expenses 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 associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99638 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to go to classes near Nikolski in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Select the Best Dental Program near Nikolski AKChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period 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 generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.