How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Point Hope 99766
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Point Hope AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Point Hope dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing 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 policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Point Hope dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are usually 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Point Hope area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Point Hope home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Point Hope area schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alaska programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Point Hope 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, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Point Hope area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of Point Hope area dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Point Hope dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Alaska schools you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene 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 have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99766 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm 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 attend classes near Point Hope in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, 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 have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Point Hope AKSelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.