How to Select a Dental Assistant Training Program near Ketchikan Alaska
Choosing the right dental assistant college near Ketchikan AK is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 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 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating 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 a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Ketchikan AK dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main 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 supporting the Ketchikan AK practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one 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 assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Ketchikan AK dental practices are often 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant school may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Ketchikan AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Ketchikan AK area colleges 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 evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Ketchikan AK frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the Alaska college you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Ketchikan AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Ketchikan AK area school you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Ketchikan AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Ketchikan AK dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Find out from the Ketchikan AK area schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized 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 witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Ketchikan AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to 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 must go to classes near your Ketchikan AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting position, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What compelled you to select Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not merely the private reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample answers can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant Program near Ketchikan AK
Picking the right dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about 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 mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Ketchikan AK.
Tell Me About Ketchikan Alaska
Ketchikan (/ˈkɛtʃɪkæn/ KETCH-ih-kan;Tlingit: Kichx̱áan) is a city in the Ketchikan Gateway Borough, Alaska, United States, the southeasternmost city in Alaska. With a population at the 2010 census of 8,050, it is the fifth-most populous city in the state, and tenth-most populous community when census-designated places are included. The surrounding borough, encompassing suburbs both north and south of the city along the Tongass Highway (most of which are commonly regarded as a part of Ketchikan, albeit not a part of the city itself), plus small rural settlements accessible mostly by water, registered a population of 13,477 in that same census. Estimates put the 2017 population at 13,754 people. Incorporated on August 25, 1900, Ketchikan is the earliest extant incorporated city in Alaska, because consolidation or unification elsewhere in Alaska resulted in dissolution of those communities' city governments. Ketchikan is located on Revillagigedo Island, so named in 1793 by Captain George Vancouver.
Ketchikan is named after Ketchikan Creek, which flows through the town, emptying into the Tongass Narrows a short distance southeast of its downtown. "Ketchikan" comes from the Tlingit name for the creek, Kitschk-hin, the meaning of which is unclear. It may mean "the river belonging to Kitschk"; other accounts claim it means "Thundering Wings of an Eagle". In modern Tlingit this name is rendered as Kichx̱áan. Ketchikan Creek served as a summer fish camp for Tlingit natives for untold years before the town was established by Mike Martin in 1885. The area near the mouth of Ketchikan Creek later earned Ketchikan a measure of infamy during the first half of the 20th century for a red-light district known as Creek Street, with brothels aligned on either side of the creek. According to the U.S. Postal Service, one of Ketchikan's two zip codes, 99950, is the highest-numbered in the United States.
Ketchikan's economy is based upon government services, tourism and commercial fishing. Civic boosters have dubbed the community the "Salmon Capital of the World." The Misty Fiords National Monument is one of the area's major attractions, and the Tongass National Forest has long been headquartered in Ketchikan, mostly in the city's historic Federal Building. For most of the latter half of the 20th century, a large portion of Ketchikan's economy and life centered on the Ketchikan Pulp Company pulp mill in nearby Ward Cove. The mill closed in 1997 in the wake of the passage of the Tongass Timber Reform Act of 1990, which reduced timber harvest targets in the national forest.
Ketchikan has the world's largest collection of standing totem poles, found throughout the city and at four major locations: Saxman Totem Park, Totem Bight State Park, Potlatch Park, and the Totem Heritage Center. Most of the totems at Saxman Totem Park and Totem Bight State Park are recarvings of older poles, a practice that began during the Roosevelt Administration through the Civilian Conservation Corps. The Totem Heritage Center displays preserved 19th-century poles rescued from abandoned village sites near Ketchikan.
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