How to Pick a Dental Assistant Training Program near Kodiak Alaska
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Kodiak AK is an important 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 performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Kodiak AK dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Kodiak AK practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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 licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Kodiak 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alaska vocational 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 offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program may be a great alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Kodiak AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Kodiak AK area programs you are looking at in order to reach 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 ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good 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 requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Kodiak AK frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alaska school you decide on offers the program that you want. 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, the majority of Kodiak AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if 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 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 ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Kodiak AK area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Kodiak AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Kodiak AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Kodiak AK area colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Kodiak AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Kodiak AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, 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 Want to Become a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assisting prospects is "What drove you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not only the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you must organize a number of approaches about how you want to respond to them. Since there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down some ideas and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Enroll in the Best Dental Assistant School near Kodiak AK
Picking the right dental assistant course is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to receive 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 usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Kodiak AK.
Tell Me About Kodiak Alaska
Kodiak (Alutiiq: Sun'aq; Russian: Кадьяк, tr. Kadʹyak) is one of seven communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was 6,130 as of the 2010 census. 2014 estimates put the population at 6,304.
After the Alaska Purchase by the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues to be the mainstay of its economy. A lesser economic influence includes tourism, mainly by those seeking outdoor adventure trips. Salmon, halibut, the unique Kodiak bear, elk, Sitka deer (black tail), and mountain goats attract hunting tourists as well as fishermen to the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains an office in the city and a website to help hunters and fishermen obtain the proper permits and learn about the laws specific to the Kodiak area.
The city has four public elementary schools, a middle and high school, as well as a branch of the University of Alaska. An antenna farm at the summit of Pillar Mountain above the city historically provided communication with the outside world before fiber optic cable was run. Transportation to and from the island is provided by ferry service on the Alaska Marine Highway as well as local commercial airlines.
The Kodiak Archipelago has been home to the Alutiiq for over 7,000 years. In their language, qikertaq means "island". In 1763, the Russian explorer Stephan Glotov discovered the island, calling it Kad’yak (Кадьяк). He was followed by the British captain James Cook fifteen years later, who first recorded "Kodiak" in his journals in 1778.
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