How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Moose Pass 99631
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Moose Pass AK is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally 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 accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Moose Pass dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Moose Pass dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, 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 an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to hold 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 nearly 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 component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Moose Pass area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school may be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Moose Pass home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be performed 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 provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Moose Pass area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online options as well. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Alaska schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Moose Pass area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the college you decide on 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. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Moose Pass area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Many Moose Pass area dental programs have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Moose Pass dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Alaska schools you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense 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, such as the reputations of the schools 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 costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99631 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Moose Pass at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, 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 need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental College near Moose Pass AKChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically 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 typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing 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 appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.