How to Become a Dental Assistant in Soldotna Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental assistant training course near Soldotna AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far 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 crucial factors to consider as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. 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 longer training comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and supplemental 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 available.
The Job of Dental Assistants in Soldotna AK
Dental assistants are an important part of any Soldotna AK dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their principal job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling 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 policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. 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 Soldotna AK
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. 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 vocational 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 offer internships with Soldotna AK dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school may be a good option for receiving your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Soldotna AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the right option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many students start by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Maybe they look for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Soldotna AK area programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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 Soldotna AK often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just verify that the Soldotna AK college you select offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental colleges have associations with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Soldotna AK area college you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Soldotna AK dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs require help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Soldotna AK dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Soldotna AK area programs you are interested in how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary 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 if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with 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 Soldotna AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near your Soldotna AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Soldotna AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Soldotna Alaska that you may find helpful.
Soldotna is located in the Southcentral portion of Alaska on the central-western portion of the Kenai Peninsula. The city limits span 7 square miles along the Kenai River, which empties into the Cook Inlet in the nearby city of Kenai. The Kenai River was selected by CNN Travel as one of the "World's 15 Best Rivers for Travelers," due to its fishing and hunting opportunities. Soldotna is located on the western edge of the vast Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, a protected area spanning nearly 2 million acres and home to bears, moose, caribou, sheep, and many fish and bird species.
The city is located at the junction of the Sterling Highway and the Kenai Spur Highway, which has enabled Soldotna to develop as a service and retail hub for the Central Peninsula as well as for travelers between Anchorage and Homer. The Central Peninsula Hospital serves the medical needs of the region's residents and tourists. The Kenai Peninsula College, a branch of the University of Alaska Anchorage, operates the Kenai River Campus in Soldotna. Additionally, the headquarters of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, and the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District are located in the city.
In 1947, after World War II, the United States government withdrew a number of townships along Cook Inlet and the lower Kenai River from the Kenai National Moose Range, opening up the area to settlement under the Homestead Act. Veterans of the United States armed services were given a 90-day preference over non-veterans in selecting land and filing for property. Also in that year, the Sterling Highway right-of-way was cleared of trees from Cooper Landing to Kenai. The location of present-day Soldotna was selected as the site for the highway's bridge crossing the Kenai River.
Pick the Best Dental Assistant College near Soldotna AK
Choosing the right dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the best choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Soldotna AK.
More Awesome Alaska Cities
Business Results 1 - 10 of 5