How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near North Pole 99705
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program near North Pole AK is an essential first step toward beginning 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 choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any North Pole dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a North Pole dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier 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 an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- 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 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 exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in vocational 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. Some programs also sponsor internships with North Pole area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your North Pole home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing North Pole area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alaska schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. North Pole area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose 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. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many North Pole area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all 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 ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most North Pole area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in offers sufficient 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, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real North Pole dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Alaska colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene colleges can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99705 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near North Pole at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Dental College near North Pole AKChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.