How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Haines 99827
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training near Haines AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Haines dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Haines dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold 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 nearly 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 as well. Some programs also offer internships with Haines area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Haines home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Haines area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Alaska colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Haines area employers frequently desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Haines 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 school has an excellent 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Haines area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Haines dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Alaska colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99827 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near Haines at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, 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 due to work, illness or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Haines AKSelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies before they enter the job market. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented 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 hygienist or assistant.