How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Kotlik 99620
Picking the right dental assistant college near Kotlik AK is an important initial step toward beginning 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 performing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider as well, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Kotlik dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing 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 handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most 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 Job of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Kotlik dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Alaska practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared 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 two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Kotlik area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program can be a good alternative for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Kotlik home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Kotlik area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Although these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to 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 final selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Kotlik area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can choose 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 options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Kotlik area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation as well as 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 may 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 ideal school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many Kotlik area dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Kotlik dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at 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 as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Alaska programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 99620 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Kotlik at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Kotlik AKEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.