How to Become a Dental Assistant in North Pole Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant training course near North Pole AK is an important first 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 completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the longer training comes more expense. We will cover all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants in North Pole AK
Dental assistants are an important component of any North Pole AK dental office and can carry out a myriad of duties. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- 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 vary by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Most 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).
Dental Assistant Education Options near North Pole AK
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about a 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 assisting 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with North Pole AK dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Schools
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course might be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your North Pole AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the North Pole AK area programs you are reviewing 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 best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in North Pole AK frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the North Pole AK school you choose offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are just 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 an important part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most dental colleges have associations with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the North Pole AK area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real North Pole AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools 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 North Pole AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Ask the North Pole AK area programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in North Pole AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your North Pole AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near North Pole AK?
Following is some interesting background information about North Pole Alaska that you may find helpful.
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2016 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,232, up from 1,570 in 2000.
The name "North Pole" is often applied to the entire area covered by its zip code, 99705. This area stretches between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, and between the Chena River and the Tanana River, including subdivisions off of Badger Road, a loop road connecting the eastern edge of Fairbanks city limits with North Pole city limits, and in the nearby census-designated place of Moose Creek. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole was home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism, but closed because of sulofane contamination in ground water. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, was a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near North Pole AK
Picking the right dental assistant program is essential if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require roughly one year of study prior to entering the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in North Pole AK.
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