How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Eielson Afb 99702
Selecting the right dental hygienist program near Eielson Afb AK is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Eielson Afb dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting 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
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many 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 contrasting the duties of a Eielson Afb dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated 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 licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally required to have 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 community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Eielson Afb area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a great option for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Eielson Afb home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Eielson Afb area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alaska colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 of the highest quality and comprehensive. Eielson Afb area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Eielson Afb area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Eielson Afb area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that provide 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 type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Eielson Afb 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 Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Alaska schools you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, 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 level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with 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 99702 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Eielson Afb at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Select the Right Dental Program near Eielson Afb AKEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.