How to Choose a Dental Assistant College near Kenai Alaska
Choosing the right dental assistant training near Kenai AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties 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 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important component of any Kenai AK dental practice and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- 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
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect 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 job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kenai AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Kenai AK dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program can be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Kenai AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Kenai AK area colleges you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Kenai AK typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alaska school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, most Kenai AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because 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 hygienist program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental programs have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in 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 have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Kenai AK area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Kenai AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Kenai AK dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Kenai AK area schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Kenai AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Kenai AK home 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 making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, along with a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down a few concepts and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Kenai AK
Selecting the right dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Kenai AK.
Tell Me About Kenai Alaska
Kenai (/ˈkiːnaɪ/, KEY-nigh) (Dena'ina: Shk'ituk't) is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 7,100 as of the 2010 census, up from 6,942 in 2000.
The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena'ina (Tanaina) word 'ken' or 'kena', which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge', according to the Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena'ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D. Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena'ina village called Shk'ituk't, meaning "where we slide down." When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village. The traders called the people "Kenaitze", which is a Russian term for "people of the flats", or "Kenai people". This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.
In 1786 Pytor Zaikov built Fort Nikolaevskaia for the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company on the site of modern Kenai, being the first European settlement on the Alaskan mainland. Hostilities surfaced between the natives and settlers in 1797, culminating in an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, later dubbed the battle of Kenai. Over one hundred deaths occurred from all involved parties. Later, in 1838, the introduction of smallpox killed one half of the Dena'ina population.
The establishment of shipping companies in the early 1900s broadened Kenai into a port city. Canning companies were established and helped fuel the commercial fishing boom that was the primary activity through the 1920s.
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