How to Pick a Dental Assistant School near Seward Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant training near Seward AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 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 normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Seward AK dental practice and can perform a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Seward AK practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing 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. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Seward AK dental offices are generally 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college may be a great alternative for receiving 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 provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Seward AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Seward AK area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition 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 ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Seward AK frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the Alaska school you choose has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Seward AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good 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 may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Seward AK area program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Seward AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Seward AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Seward AK area programs you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Seward AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near your Seward AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When preparing to interview for a Dental Assistant job, it's helpful to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What drove you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Since 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, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the abilities you possess that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the ideal candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Find the Best Dental Assistant Program near Seward AK
Choosing the right dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered 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 usually receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Seward AK.
Tell Me About Seward Alaska
Seward (Alutiiq: Qutalleq) is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 2,528. It was named after William H. Seward, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1867, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.
In 1793 Alexander Baranov of the Shelikhov-Golikov company (precursor of the Russian-American Company) established a fur trade post on Resurrection Bay where Seward is today, and had a three-masted vessel, the Phoenix, built at the post by James Shields, an English shipwright in Russian service.
The 1939 Slattery Report on Alaskan development identified the region as one of the areas where new settlements would be established through Jewish immigration. This plan was never implemented.
Seward was an important port for the military buildup in Alaska during World War II. Fort Raymond was established in Seward along the Resurrection River to protect the community. An Army airfield built in Seward during the war later became Walseth Air Force Base. Both of the military facilities were closed shortly after the end of the war.
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