How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Brevig Mission 99785
Picking the ideal dental assistant program near Brevig Mission AK is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Brevig Mission dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing 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 certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Brevig Mission dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Brevig Mission area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally 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 comfort of your Brevig Mission home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Brevig Mission area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alaska programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Brevig Mission area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Brevig Mission area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong 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, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Brevig Mission area dental colleges have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For 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 treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Brevig Mission dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99785 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Brevig Mission in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, 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 School near Brevig Mission AKSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require about two years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.