How to Pick the Best Dental Assistant Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant school near Fairbanks AK is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Fairbanks AK dental office and can undertake a variety of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Alaska community colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one 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 assisting classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Fairbanks AK dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school might be a great alternative for obtaining your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Fairbanks AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the best choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant Schools
When you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Fairbanks AK area programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order 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 Fairbanks AK frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just confirm that the Fairbanks AK school you select offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but might 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 school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental programs have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Fairbanks AK area program you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are considering sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Fairbanks AK dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need assistance 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 high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fairbanks AK dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Fairbanks AK area schools you are evaluating how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense 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 factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also have an impact. 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Fairbanks AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to attend classes near your Fairbanks AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Fairbanks AK?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Fairbanks Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Fairbanks is the largest city in the Interior region of Alaska. 2016 estimates put the population of the city proper at 32,751, and the population of the Fairbanks North Star Borough at 97,121, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in Alaska (after Anchorage). The Metropolitan Statistical Area encompasses all of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and is the northernmost Metropolitan Statistical Area in the United States, located 196 driving miles (or 140 air miles) south of the Arctic Circle. Fairbanks is home to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the founding campus of the University of Alaska system.
Though, as of yet, there is not a known permanent Alaska Native settlement at the site of Fairbanks, Athabascan peoples have used the area for thousands of years. An archaeological site excavated on the grounds of the University of Alaska Fairbanks uncovered a Native camp about 3,500 years old, with older remains found at deeper levels. From evidence gathered at the site,archaeologists surmise that Native activities in the area were limited to seasonal hunting and fishing as frigid temperatures precluded berry gathering . In addition, archeological sites on the grounds of nearby Fort Wainwright date back well over 10,000 years. Arrowheads excavated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks site matched similar items found in Asia, providing some of the first evidence that humans arrived in North America via the Bering Strait land bridge in deep antiquity.
Captain E. T. Barnette founded Fairbanks in August 1901 while headed to Tanacross (or Tanana Crossing, where the Valdez–Eagle trail crossed the Tanana River), where he intended to set up a trading post. The steamboat on which Barnette was a passenger, the Lavelle Young, ran aground while attempting to negotiate shallow water. Barnette, along with his party and supplies, were deposited along the banks of the Chena River 7 miles (11 km) upstream from its confluence with the Tanana River. The sight of smoke from the steamer's engines caught the attention of gold prospectors working in the hills to the north, most notably an Italian immigrant named Felice Pedroni (better known as Felix Pedro) and his partner Tom Gilmore. The two met Barnette where he disembarked and convinced him of the potential of the area. Barnette set up his trading post at the site, still intending to eventually make it to Tanacross. Teams of gold prospectors soon congregated in and around the newly founded Fairbanks; they built drift mines, dredges, and lode mines in addition to panning and sluicing.
Dental Assistant Online Programs Fairbanks Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Dental Assistant Online Programs and wanting info on Top Dental Assistant Schools. But as we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools typically obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require approximately one year of study prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Fairbanks AK.
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