How to Pick the Best Dental Assistant Training Program near Fort Richardson Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental assistant school near Fort Richardson AK is an important initial step toward starting 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 training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more expense. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important part of any Fort Richardson AK dental office and can perform a variety of duties. Their primary job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish 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 aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Fort Richardson AK dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fort Richardson AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed 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 program is the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many prospective students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online options also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Fort Richardson AK area colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied 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 Program Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fort Richardson AK frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make certain that the Fort Richardson AK school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation as well as 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 only interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Most dental schools have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the Fort Richardson AK area program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Fort Richardson AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fort Richardson AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Fort Richardson AK area programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in Fort Richardson AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near your Fort Richardson AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Fort Richardson AK?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Fort Richardson Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Fort Richardson (Alaska)
Fort Richardson is a United States Army installation in the U.S. state of Alaska, adjacent to the city of Anchorage. In 2010, it was merged with nearby Elmendorf Air Force Base to form Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Fort Richardson was named for the military pioneer explorer, Brig. Gen. Wilds P. Richardson, who served three tours of duty in the rugged Alaska territory between 1897 and 1917. Richardson, a native Texan and an 1884 West Point graduate, commanded troops along the Yukon River and supervised construction of Fort Egbert near Eagle, and Fort William H. Seward (Chilkoot Barracks) near Haines. As head of the War Department's Alaska Road Commission from 1905 to 1917, he was responsible for much of the surveying and building of early railroads, roads and bridges that helped the state’s settlement and growth. The Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, surveyed under his direction in 1904, was named the Richardson Highway in his honor.
During World War II, Fort Richardson was used briefly as a holding center for several family members of Alaskan Japanese Americans arrested after Pearl Harbor. Fifteen Japanese Americans and two German Americans were interned here before being transferred to other camps. Built during 1940-1941 on the site of what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base and established as the headquarters of the United States Army, Alaska (USARAK) in 1947, the post moved to its present location five miles (8 km) northeast of Anchorage in 1950. The post then had barracks for 500 soldiers, a rifle range, a few warehouses, a hospital, and bachelor officer quarters. From 1986-1994 the fort was headquarters of the 6th Infantry Division (Light). Fort Richardson is now headquarters for United States Army Alaska (USARAK), a subordinate unit of United States Army Pacific Command. For more than a decade, the major combat unit at Fort Richardson was Task Force 1-501, the only airborne infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater. Task Force 1-501 deployed to Afghanistan from October 2003 through August 2004.
Online Dental Assistant School Fort Richardson Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant course is crucial if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Online Dental Assistant School and wanting info on How To Choose An Accredited Dental Assistant Program. But as we have covered, there are a number of options offered to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly one year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to go to 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 in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Fort Richardson AK.
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