How to Choose a Dental Assistant School near Juneau Alaska
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Juneau AK is an important first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting 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 usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Juneau AK dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Juneau AK practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every 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
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Juneau AK dental practices are usually required to have 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alaska trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant program might be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Juneau AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Juneau AK area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. 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 guarantee that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Juneau AK typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alaska school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, many Juneau AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most dental colleges have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 Juneau AK area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Juneau AK 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 too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Juneau AK area programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer 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 amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Juneau AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Juneau AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you decide on Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Assisting, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare several approaches about how you would like to answer them. Considering there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down several concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Find the Right Dental Assistant Program near Juneau AK
Choosing the right dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Juneau AK.
Tell Me About Juneau Alaska
The City and Borough of Juneau (/ˈdʒuːnoʊ/ JOO-noh; Tlingit: Dzánti K'ihéeni [ˈtsántʰì kʼìˈhíːnì]), commonly known as Juneau, is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality on Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality, which is larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware.
Downtown Juneau (58°18′07″N 134°25′11″W / 58.30194°N 134.41972°W / 58.30194; -134.41972) is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island. As of the 2010 census, the City and Borough had a population of 31,276. In 2014, the population estimate from the United States Census Bureau was 32,406, making it the second most populous city in Alaska after Anchorage.Fairbanks, however, is the state's second most populous metropolitan area, with roughly 100,000 residents. Juneau's daily population can increase by roughly 6,000 people from visiting cruise ships between the months of May and September.
The city is named after a gold prospector from Quebec, Joe Juneau, though the place was for a time called Rockwell and then Harrisburg (after Juneau's co-prospector, Richard Harris). The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni ("Base of the Flounder’s River," dzánti ‘flounder,’ –kʼi ‘base,’ héen ‘river’), and Auke Bay just north of Juneau proper is called Áak'w ("Little lake," áa ‘lake,’ -kʼ ‘diminutive’) in Tlingit. The Taku River, just south of Juneau, was named after the cold t'aakh wind, which occasionally blows down from the mountains.
Juneau is unusual among U.S. capitals (except Honolulu, Hawaii) in that there are no roads connecting the city to the rest of Alaska or to the rest of North America (although ferry service is available for cars). The absence of a road network is due to the extremely rugged terrain surrounding the city. This in turn makes Juneau a de facto island city in terms of transportation, since all goods coming in and out must go by plane or boat, in spite of the city being on the Alaskan mainland. Downtown Juneau sits at sea level, with tides averaging 16 feet (5 m), below steep mountains about 3,500 feet (1,100 m) to 4,000 feet (1,200 m) high. Atop these mountains is the Juneau Icefield, a large ice mass from which about 30 glaciers flow; two of these, the Mendenhall Glacier and the Lemon Creek Glacier, are visible from the local road system. The Mendenhall glacier has been gradually retreating; its front face is declining in width and height.
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