How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant Training Program near Nikiski Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant school near Nikiski AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving 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 usually takes about one year to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a dental hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing 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 important part of any Nikiski AK dental practice and can carry out a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the dental hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Nikiski AK practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based 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 care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Alaska junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Nikiski AK dental offices are often required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school may be a good option for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Nikiski AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced 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 receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Nikiski AK area programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Nikiski AK often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited Alaska programs.
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 school you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, a large number of Nikiski AK dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good 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 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 Adequate Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of dental programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind 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 Nikiski AK area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Nikiski AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Nikiski AK dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the Nikiski AK area schools you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. But besides 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Nikiski AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Nikiski AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of 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 helpful to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that interviewers often ask Dental Assisting candidates is "What made you choose Assisting as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Dental Assistant, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating exclusively to Assisting, in addition to a certain number of general interview questions, so you must prepare a number of ideas about how you want to respond to them. Given that there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an excellent Dental Assistant and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Nikiski AK
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to go to 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 selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Nikiski AK.
Tell Me About Nikiski Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 76.2 square miles (197 km2), of which, 69.6 square miles (180 km2) of it is land and 6.6 square miles (17 km2) of it (8.66%) is water.
Nikiski first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Tinneh villages of "Kultuk" (AKA Nikishka No. 3) and "Titukilsk and Nikishka." Kultuk had a population of 17, and Titukilsk and Nikishka had a population of 57, all of which were Tinneh Natives. There apparently were no census reports from 1880 until 1980, when the area was organized as "Nikishka" and made a census-designated place (CDP). The name was altered to Nikiski in 1990 and has reported as such on each successive census.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,327 people, 1,514 households, and 1,130 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 62.2 people per square mile (24.0/km²). There were 1,766 housing units at an average density of 25.4/sq mi (9.8/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 87.15% White, 0.12% Black or African American, 7.56% Native American, 0.72% Asian, 0.51% Pacific Islander, 0.83% from other races, and 3.12% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,514 households out of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.9% were married couples living together, 7.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.3% were non-families. 20.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.31.
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