How to Pick the Best Dental Assistant Degree Program near Anchorage Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Anchorage AK is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Anchorage AK dental office and can carry out a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing 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 policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can require 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Anchorage AK dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Choosing 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 practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Anchorage AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Anchorage AK area schools you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Anchorage AK frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Anchorage AK school you decide on has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but could 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Many dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Anchorage AK area program you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are considering sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Anchorage AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Anchorage AK dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Anchorage AK area colleges you are interested in how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending 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 private or public 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Anchorage AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near your Anchorage AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Anchorage AK?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Anchorage Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska, located on the West Coast of the United States. With an estimated 291,538 residents in 2018, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 399,148 in 2018, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles (4,420 km2) of land area, the city is the fourth largest city by land in the United States and larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, which is 1,212 square miles (3,140 km2) in area.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Dental Assistant Degrees Anchorage Alaska
Enrolling in the ideal dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Dental Assistant Degrees and wanting info on Cost Of Dental Assistant School. But as we have covered, there are several alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive 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 normally require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Anchorage AK.
Other Alaska Dentistry Locations
Business Results 1 - 10 of 122