How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Nondalton 99640
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Nondalton AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Nondalton dental office and can perform a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Nondalton dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier 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 an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- 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 have graduated 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 licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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 assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Nondalton area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Nondalton home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Nondalton area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Alaska colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Nondalton area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, 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 Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Nondalton area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Nondalton area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want 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 specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Nondalton 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Alaska schools you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99640 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Nondalton at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Dental School near Nondalton AKChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.