How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Program near North Pole Alaska
Choosing the right dental assistant school near North Pole AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any North Pole AK dental office and can perform a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest 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 assisting the North Pole AK practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in North Pole AK dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant college can be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your North Pole AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the North Pole AK area colleges you are comparing 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 ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in North Pole AK frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the Alaska college you select has 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 have a career as a hygienist, many North Pole AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. A number of dental programs have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose provides sufficient 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, confirm that the North Pole AK area school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real North Pole 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 look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Ask if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the North Pole AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the North Pole AK area programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in North Pole AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your North Pole AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's important to review questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What drove you to select Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and talents you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of general interview questions, so you must ready a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal choice for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Right Dental Assistant College near North Pole AK
Picking the right dental assistant course is imperative if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period 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 programs typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require about one year of study before they enter the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided 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 assistant in North Pole AK.
Tell Me About North Pole Alaska
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,117, up from 1,570 in 2000.
The name "North Pole" is often applied to the entire area covered by its zip code, 99705. This area stretches between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, and between the Chena River and the Tanana River, including subdivisions off of Badger Road, a loop road connecting the eastern edge of Fairbanks city limits with North Pole city limits, and in the nearby census-designated place of Moose Creek. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole is home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, is a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.
While the real North Pole has no terra firma many travelers discovered this town as an ideal way to finally visit the home of Santa Claus. This revelation made this small town in Alaska a must visit during the holidays causing the town to create more and more Santa Claus themed attractions. Its biggest attraction is a gift shop named Santa Claus House, the modern-day incarnation of a trading post established in the town's early days. The Santa Claus House is known for the world's largest fiberglass statue of Santa Claus outside.
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