How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Craig 99921
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Craig AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually 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 accomplish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Craig dental office and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than 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 offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Craig dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. After they have completed 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 Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional 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 require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Craig area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a viable option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Craig home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Craig area programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives also. Although these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alaska schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 ensure that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Craig area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Craig area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Craig area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Craig dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Alaska schools you are reviewing how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide 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 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 training can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99921 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Craig in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Craig AKEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you intend 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 assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. 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 roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.