How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Northway 99764
Picking the right dental assistant school near Northway AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. 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 are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore 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 review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Northway dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. Many Alaska dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide 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 job of a Northway dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, 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 sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased 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 require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Northway area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Northway home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Northway area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Alaska colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Northway area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Northway 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 college 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 solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of Northway area dental colleges have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Northway 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 are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help getting their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Find out from the Alaska programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 99764 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Northway at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Enroll in the Best Dental College near Northway AKChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.