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Accredited Dental Assistant Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Akiak AK 99552

How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Akiak 99552

dental assistant training in Akiak AKChoosing the right dental hygienist program near Akiak AK is an important initial step toward starting 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 doing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.

The Role of a Dental Assistant

Akiak dental assistant helping dentist 99552Dental assistants are an essential part of any Akiak dental practice and can perform a variety of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Some Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:

  • Setting and confirming appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing 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 have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of a Dental Hygienist

Akiak dental hygienist treating patient in AlaskaWhen contrasting the duties of a Akiak dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results 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
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Teaching patients about oral care
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • Removing sutures and applying fillings

In order to be licensed 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 in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options

Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges as well as 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 provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. 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 Akiak area dental practices or dentists.

Dental Online Training Programs

attending dental assistant school online in Akiak homeEnrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant school can be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Akiak home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical 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 receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.

Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Alaska dental colleges 99552When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing Akiak area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.

Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify 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 training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Akiak area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.

Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Akiak area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.

Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Akiak area dental programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers enough 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 college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.

Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Akiak dental practice. They help 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 Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are Classes Small? Check with the Alaska programs you are reviewing how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost based on the length 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 along with the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99552 area.

Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Akiak at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Enroll in the Best Dental College near Akiak AK

Choosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant 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 a number of alternatives available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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