How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Hope 99605
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Hope AK is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Hope dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Alaska dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Hope dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are regarded as 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 available at Alaska community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Hope area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a great option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hope home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental office 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 mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Hope area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hope area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the college you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Hope area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most Hope area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Hope dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering 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 community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Alaska schools you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical 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 significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99605 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Hope at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need 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 responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental School near Hope AKEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally 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 provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.