How to Become a Dental Assistant in Healy Alaska
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Healy AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training comes more cost. We will discuss all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants in Healy AK
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Healy AK dental practice and can perform a wide range of functions. Their primary job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options near Healy AK
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Healy AK dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school can be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Healy AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist program is the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options as well. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Healy AK area colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant program. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Healy AK typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Healy AK college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that even if a college has an excellent 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 primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental programs have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Healy AK area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Healy AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Healy AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Healy AK area colleges you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate environment for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant programs can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 examining the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Healy AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Healy AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Healy AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Healy Alaska that you may find helpful.
Healy is located at 63°58′15″N 149°7′37″W / 63.97083°N 149.12694°W / 63.97083; -149.12694 (63.970833, -149.126944). The George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3) runs through the community, leading south 18 miles (29 km) to Denali Park and north 56 miles (90 km) to Nenana.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Healy CDP has a total area of 687.2 square miles (1,779.8 km2), of which 687.0 square miles (1,779.2 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.03%, is water. By area, it is the second-largest CDP in the United States, exceeded by only Willow, Alaska.
As is typical of the Alaska Interior, Healy experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with very long, bitterly cold winters and short, warm summers, and straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2 and 3, indicating the coldest temperature of the year is typically around −40 °F (−40 °C). Average temperatures are below freezing from early October to mid-April, though occasionally chinook winds will push temperatures up to 45 °F (7.2 °C) even in the depths of winter.
Choose the Ideal Dental Assistant School near Healy AK
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is essential if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Healy AK.
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The University of Alaska Fairbanks is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual. Learn more about the university's notice of nondiscrimination .