How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Pedro Bay 99647
Selecting the right dental assistant college near Pedro Bay AK is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns 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 hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Pedro Bay dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing 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 regulations. Assistants handling 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Pedro Bay dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Pedro Bay area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a good option for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Pedro Bay home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental school is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Pedro Bay area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Alaska programs 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost 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 establish that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Pedro Bay area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on 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. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Pedro Bay 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 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Pedro Bay area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Pedro Bay dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska schools you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99647 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near Pedro Bay in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Select the Best Dental College near Pedro Bay AKChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools 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 prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.