How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Aleknagik 99555
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist program near Aleknagik AK is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Aleknagik dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Alaska dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Aleknagik dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of 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 sponsor internships with Aleknagik area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Aleknagik home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. 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 online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Aleknagik area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Aleknagik area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Aleknagik area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most Aleknagik area dental programs have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Aleknagik dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Alaska programs you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of 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 Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99555 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Aleknagik at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Aleknagik AKPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs normally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.