How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant College near Tok Alaska
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Tok AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Tok AK dental office and can perform a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main 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 supporting the Tok AK practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Tok AK dental offices 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 nearly 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 aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant college may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Tok AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
When you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Tok AK area schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included 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 Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Tok AK typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the Alaska school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Tok AK dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep 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 college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the best college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Tok AK area program you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Tok 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 Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools require assistance getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Tok AK dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Tok AK area colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 costs 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. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Tok AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near your Tok AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family issues.
Why Did You Want to Be a Dental Assistant?When getting ready to interview for a Dental Assisting job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask Dental Assisting applicants is "What compelled you to pick Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to prepare your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant College near Tok AK
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options available to receive your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about one year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Tok AK.
Tell Me About Tok Alaska
Tok /ˈtoʊk/ is a census-designated place (CDP) in Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. The population was 1,258 at the 2010 census.
Tok lies on a large, flat alluvial plain of the Tanana Valley between the Tanana River and the Alaska Range at an important junction of the Alaska Highway (Alaska Route 2) with the Glenn Highway (Alaska Route 1). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 132.3 square miles (343 km2), all of it land.
Tok has a dry-winter continental subarctic climate (Köppen Dwc). The weather station is at 1620 feet above sea level.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,393 people, 534 households, and 372 families residing in the census designated place (CDP). The population density was 10.5 people per square mile (6.1/km²). There were 748 housing units at an average density of 5.7 per square mile (2.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 78.03% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 12.85% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.93% from other races, and 7.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.08% of the population.
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