How to Find the Right Dental Assistant College near Petersburg Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant program near Petersburg AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. 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 expense. We will explore all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Petersburg AK dental office and can carry out a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most 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 role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Petersburg AK practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 as well as 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 available at Alaska junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Petersburg AK dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school can be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Petersburg AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Petersburg AK area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Petersburg AK often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Correct 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’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 Petersburg AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep 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 school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Petersburg AK area school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Petersburg AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Petersburg AK dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Petersburg AK area colleges you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. 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 analyzing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Petersburg AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Petersburg AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's important to review questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, as well as a significant number of standard interview questions, so you should organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Choose the Best Dental Assistant School near Petersburg AK
Selecting the right dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain 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 typically require roughly one year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided 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 Petersburg AK.
Tell Me About Petersburg Alaska
Petersburg (Tlingit: Gantiyaakw Séedi "Steamboat Channel") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Petersburg Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 2,948 at the 2010 census, down from 3,224 in 2000.
The borough encompasses Petersburg and Kupreanof, plus mostly uninhabited areas stretching to the Canadian–American border and the southern boundary of the City and Borough of Juneau. While the city of Petersburg ceased to exist as a separate administrative entity (the borough assembly created a service area to assume operation of the former city's services), the tiny city of Kupreanof remains separate within the borough.
Tlingits from Kupreanof Island had long used a summer fish camp at the north end of Mitkof Island. Earlier cultures of indigenous people also used the island: remnants of fish traps and some petroglyphs have been carbon-dated back some 1,000 years.
European explorers to Mitkof Island encountered the Tlingit. In the nineteenth century, Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant, settled here, building a cannery, sawmill, docks and early structures. The settlement was named Petersburg after him, and it flourished as a fishing port. (Icebergs from the nearby LeConte Glacier provided a source for cooling fish). Petersburg originally incorporated as a town on April 2, 1910. The town had attracted mostly immigrants of Scandinavian origin, thus giving Petersburg the nickname "Little Norway". The Sons of Norway hall was built on one of the piers. Three other canneries were built and the four have operated continuously since. With the establishment of the cannery, Alaskan Natives, including Chief John Lott, began to work there and live year-round at the site.
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