How to Become a Dental Assistant in Juneau Alaska
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Juneau AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant in Juneau AK
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Juneau AK dental office and can carry out a variety of functions. Their main job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Juneau AK
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a 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. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Juneau AK dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant program might be a great option for getting your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Juneau AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. 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 needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska programs and schools. 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. Maybe they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Juneau AK area colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost 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 establish that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Juneau AK often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Juneau AK college you decide on offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one 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 dental assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the Juneau AK area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Juneau AK dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Juneau AK dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Juneau AK area programs you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide 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 so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with 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 examining the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Juneau AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Juneau AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Juneau AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Juneau Alaska that you may find helpful.
The City and Borough of Juneau (/ˈdʒuːnoʊ/ JOO-noh; Tlingit: Dzánti K'ihéeni [ˈtsántʰì kʼìˈhíːnì]), commonly known as Juneau, is the capital city of Alaska. It is a unified municipality on Gastineau Channel in the Alaskan panhandle, and it is the second largest city in the United States by area. Juneau has been the capital of Alaska since 1906, when the government of what was the District of Alaska was moved from Sitka as dictated by the U.S. Congress in 1900. The municipality unified on July 1, 1970, when the city of Juneau merged with the city of Douglas and the surrounding Greater Juneau Borough to form the current municipality, which is larger by area than both Rhode Island and Delaware.
Downtown Juneau (58°18′07″N 134°25′11″W / 58.30194°N 134.41972°W / 58.30194; -134.41972) is nestled at the base of Mount Juneau and across the channel from Douglas Island. As of the 2010 census, the City and Borough had a population of 31,276. In 2014, the population estimate from the United States Census Bureau was 32,406, making it the second most populous city in Alaska after Anchorage.Fairbanks, however, is the state's second most populous metropolitan area, with roughly 100,000 residents. Juneau's daily population can increase by roughly 6,000 people from visiting cruise ships between the months of May and September.
The city is named after a gold prospector from Quebec, Joe Juneau, though the place was for a time called Rockwell and then Harrisburg (after Juneau's co-prospector, Richard Harris). The Tlingit name of the town is Dzántik'i Héeni ("Base of the Flounder’s River," dzánti ‘flounder,’ –kʼi ‘base,’ héen ‘river’), and Auke Bay just north of Juneau proper is called Áak'w ("Little lake," áa ‘lake,’ -kʼ ‘diminutive’) in Tlingit. The Taku River, just south of Juneau, was named after the cold t'aakh wind, which occasionally blows down from the mountains.
Enroll in the Right Dental Assistant Program near Juneau AK
Selecting the right dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly one 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 training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Juneau AK.
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