How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Atka 99547
Picking the ideal dental hygienist school near Atka AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating 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 Atka dental practice and can carry out a myriad of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish 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 obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Atka dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Atka area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Atka home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Atka area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Alaska schools you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished 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 many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Atka area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you select offers 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 Atka area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Atka area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Atka dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for example 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 significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99547 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Atka in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Right Dental Program near Atka AKChoosing the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, 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 training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.