How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Tununak 99681
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Tununak AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Tununak dental practice and can carry out a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to give support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Tununak dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly 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 assisting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete 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 hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Tununak area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Tununak home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental online program is the right option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Tununak area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Tununak area employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Tununak area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Tununak area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Tununak dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs 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 Classrooms Small? Check with the Alaska programs you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99681 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Tununak in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need 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.
Pick the Best Dental School near Tununak AKChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education 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 community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.