How to Find the Right Dental Assistant School near Eagle River Alaska
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Eagle River AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you should 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 provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Eagle River AK dental office and can perform a multitude of functions. Their principal job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants dealing with 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Eagle River AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 as well as any state licensure examinations. After 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 programs are provided at Alaska community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Eagle River AK dental practices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Eagle River AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the best choice for you.
Questions to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you want to attain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the opening of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Eagle River AK area colleges 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 due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Eagle River AK often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the Alaska college you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Eagle River AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited assistant program. So if you are only interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Eagle River AK area college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a real Eagle River AK dental practice. They help 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 Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant schools need help getting their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eagle River AK dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Find out from the Eagle River AK area programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Eagle River AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Eagle River AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Dental Assistant?When prepping to interview for a Dental Assistant position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the questions that recruiters typically ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What drove you to decide on Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating primarily to Assisting, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you must prepare some approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an outstanding Dental Assistant and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reading through sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Eagle River AK
Enrolling in the right dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools 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 attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Eagle River AK.
Tell Me About Eagle River Alaska
Eagle River, Anchorage
Eagle River is a community within the Municipality of Anchorage situated on the Eagle River for which it is named, between Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Chugach State Park in the Chugach Mountains. Its ZIP code is 99577. If Eagle River were not part of the Municipality of Anchorage, it would be classified as one of the five largest cities in Alaska.
The name Eagle River was first reported in 1939 by the U.S. Geological Survey. The Eagle River/Chugiak area was settled by homesteaders and prospered on agricultural activities. The Eagle River post office was established in 1961.
In spite of some local opposition, both Chugiak and Eagle River became annexed to the Municipality of Anchorage, when the City of Anchorage and the Greater Anchorage Area Borough were unified in 1975. Efforts to secede from the Municipality surfaced around 2000, but are no longer prominent as the community has seen an influx of individuals who have social and economic ties to Anchorage and the nearby Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson.
Neighborhoods along the Glenn Highway and Old Glenn Highway corridor are level or sloping, rising towards the Chugach Mountains east of the Old Glenn Highway. The remainder of the community lies along the canyon of the Eagle River; some neighborhoods built in the late 20th century and early 21st century near the Briggs Bridge are built very close to the bottom of the canyon. Neighborhoods along the northern portions of Eagle River, plus Hiland Road and Eagle River Road east of the curve where the road leaves the section line and descends into the canyon, mainly consist of houses built across the mountainsides. Wallace Mountain, on the far northeast corner of the community's road system, is home to several radio station transmitters and towers at the 1,900 feet (580 m) level.
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