How to Choose a Dental Assistant School near Hoonah Alaska
Choosing the right dental assistant school near Hoonah AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. 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 finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Hoonah AK dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the job of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the dental hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Hoonah AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating 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 have graduated 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. When they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Alaska junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Hoonah AK dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program may be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the convenience of your Hoonah AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Although these are relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Hoonah AK area colleges you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental Assistant College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Hoonah AK typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt 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 choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, a large number of Hoonah AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and 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 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 best college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Hoonah AK area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Hoonah AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs need assistance getting their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Hoonah AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Hoonah AK area schools you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, 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 degree of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Hoonah AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must attend classes near your Hoonah AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
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 could be asked. Among the questions that hiring managers typically ask Dental Assistant prospects is "What made you choose Assisting as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Dental Assistant, but also what attributes and skills you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining primarily to Assisting, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a number of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Dental Assistant and the best candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Best Dental Assistant Program near Hoonah 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 you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require approximately 1 year of study before they enter the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided 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 Hoonah AK.
Tell Me About Hoonah Alaska
Hoonah (Xunaa in Tlingit) is a largely Tlingit community on Chichagof Island, located in Alaska's panhandle in the southeast region of the state. It is 30 miles (48 km) west of Juneau, across the Alaskan Inside Passage. Hoonah is the only first-class city on Chichagof Island, the 109th largest island in the world and the 5th largest island in the United States. At the 2010 census the population was 760, down from 860 at the 2000 census. In the summer the population can swell to over 1,300 depending on fishing, boating, hiking and hunting conditions. "Hoonah" became the official spelling in 1901, with establishment of the Hoonah branch of the United States Post Office.Xunaa means "protected from the North Wind" in the Tlingit language.
The clans comprising the Huna Tlingit originally settled what is now Glacier Bay National Park as well as Icy Strait, Cross Sound, and the outer coast north to Sea Otter Creek. Two catastrophic events forced the Tlingit from their homeland; rapid glacial advance in Glacier Bay and a landslide-induced tsunami in Lituya Bay along the outer coast. Tlingit oral tradition recounts these events as well as the clans' ultimate resettlement in Xunaa.
Sheldon Jackson established the first school house and teacher's residence in November 1881. The school was initially overseen by Mr. and Mrs. Walter B. Styles of New York until their transfer to Sitka in 1882. The Reverend and Mrs. John McFarland assumed responsibility for the school in 1884, and by 1885 219 Tlingit students were enrolled: 69 boys, 76 girls and 74 adults. A territorial school and government school were built in 1923. In 1932 the government school was demolished and replaced by a Bureau of Indian Affairs school.
The Hoonah Packing Company ("HPC"), built in 1912, was one of eight canneries operating in the area during the early twentieth century, representing Hoonah's major industry at the time. HPC was sold several times until coming to be owned by Wards Cove Packing, which also owned Hoonah Trading. The cannery ceased operating in 1954, but continued to see use by commercial fishermen for storing and repairing their boats and gear.
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