How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Training Program near Haines Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Haines AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two 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 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Haines AK dental office and can undertake a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will need 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably 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 Haines AK practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can 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 as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Haines AK dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a great option for obtaining your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Haines AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition costs 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 typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain 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 right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Haines AK area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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 Haines AK typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alaska college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, a large number of Haines AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Haines AK area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Haines AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Haines AK dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Find out from the Haines AK area programs you are looking at how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a couple of 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 making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Haines AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Haines AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What made you decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to prepare your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Haines AK
Picking the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Haines AK.
Tell Me About Haines Alaska
Haines (Tlingit: Deishú) is a census-designated place located in Haines Borough, Alaska, United States. It is in the northern part of the Alaska Panhandle, near Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve.
As of the 2010 census, the population of the Haines CDP was 1,713, out of a total 2,508 in Haines Borough.
The area around present-day Haines was called Dtehshuh or "end of the trail" by the Chilkat group of Tlingit. It received this name because they could portage (carry) their canoes from the trail they used to trade with the interior, which began at the outlet of the Chilkat River, to Dtehshuh and save 20 miles (32 km) of rowing around the Chilkat Peninsula.
The first European, George Dickinson, an agent for the North West Trading Company, settled at Dtehshuh in 1879. In 1881, the Chilkat asked Sheldon Jackson to send missionaries to the area. Samuel Hall Young, a Presbyterian minister, was sent. Jackson built the Chilkat Mission and school at Dtehshuh in 1881, on land given to the church by the Chilkat. The Mission was renamed "Haines" in 1884 in honor of Francina E. Haines, the chairwoman of the committee that raised funds for its construction.
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