How to Choose a Dental Assistant Training Program near Girdwood Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant training near Girdwood AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Girdwood AK dental practice and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. 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 Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Girdwood AK practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform 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 about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Girdwood AK dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school can be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Girdwood AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Girdwood AK area programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly 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 training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Girdwood AK typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alaska college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Girdwood AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Girdwood AK area college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Girdwood AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Girdwood AK dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Girdwood AK area colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary 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 whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Girdwood AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Girdwood AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assistant candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to ready some strategies about how you want to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Girdwood AK
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Girdwood AK.
Tell Me About Girdwood Alaska
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Originally called "Glacier City," Girdwood was founded as a supply camp for placer gold miners with claims along the creeks feeding Turnagain Arm. It was renamed for Colonel James Girdwood, a Belfast-born, Scots-Irish entrepreneur and linen merchant who staked the first four gold claims along Crow Creek in 1896.
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