How to Choose the Best Dental Assistant Program near Fort Wainwright Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental assistant school near Fort Wainwright AK is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to consider as well, for instance the school’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete 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. Naturally with the lengthier training comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options offered.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Fort Wainwright AK dental office and can undertake a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to provide support 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 periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be licensed and certified. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three 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 interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Fort Wainwright AK dentists or dental practices.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant school might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fort Wainwright AK home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to college, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Schools
Once you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Possibly they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Fort Wainwright AK area programs you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Fort Wainwright AK typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Correct 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 Wainwright AK school you select has the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation and 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 might 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 college for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a vital portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Fort Wainwright AK area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Fort Wainwright AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Fort Wainwright AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Fort Wainwright AK area programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. Most schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Fort Wainwright AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while getting your education and need to attend classes near your Fort Wainwright AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Fort Wainwright AK?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Fort Wainwright Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Fort Wainwright is a United States Army post in Fairbanks, a city in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough and the coterminous Fairbanks Metropolitan Statistical Area. Since 1978 Fort Wainwright has been investigating and cleaning up soil and water contamination from a landfill and drum burial site, fuel terminal, coal storage yard/fire training pits, open detonation area and underground storage tanks. It was Superfund-listed in 1990.
What is now Fort Wainwright was first established in 1939 by the U.S. Army Air Corps as Ladd Field. In 1947 it was transferred to the newly established U.S. Air Force and renamed Ladd Air Force Base, serving as a cold weather station to test aircraft under arctic conditions. In 1961 it was transferred to the Army and redesignated Fort Wainwright in honor of World War II general Jonathan Wainwright. From 1963 to 1972 it was home to the 171st Infantry Brigade, mechanized until 1969, then light. During that time, the 172nd Infantry Brigade was at Fort Richardson, in Anchorage. From 1986 to 1998 Fort Wainwright was the home of the 6th Infantry Division (Light), and served as the division's headquarters from 1990 to 1994. From 1998 to 2006, it was home to the 172nd Infantry Brigade, which was reorganized in 2003 as the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT), part of the U.S. Army's transition program to include six SBCTs. In 2006, the 172nd was re-flagged as the 1st brigade of the 25th Infantry Division.
Fort Wainwright was also the home of Task Force 49, an aviation brigade that provides logistical air support for U.S. Army Alaska, Bassett Army Community Hospital and the Bureau of Land Management's Alaska Fire Service which later transformed to become a part of 16th Combat Aviation Brigade with headquarters at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington in 2010 with duty in Alaska.
Dental Assistant Class Fort Wainwright Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant program is essential if you intend 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 Class and wanting info on How To Choose Accredited Dental Assistant Training. But as you now know, there are a number of alternatives offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount 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 generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants normally require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When obtaining a certificate or degree you can choose to attend 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 appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Fort Wainwright AK.
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