How to Select the Best Dental Assistant Degree Program near Unalaska Alaska
Picking the right dental assistant school near Unalaska AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two credentials you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally 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 2 to 3 years to complete. Obviously with the more extensive training comes more cost. We will cover 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 review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Unalaska AK dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing 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 dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Training Programs
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska junior colleges in addition to technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Unalaska AK dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Assistant Training
Choosing an online dental assistant course might be a viable alternative for obtaining 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 Unalaska AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Unalaska AK area colleges you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending 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 get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Unalaska AK typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska schools.
Is The Proper 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 Unalaska AK school you select has 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 school may have a strong 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 right school for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Unalaska AK area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Unalaska AK dental practice. They make it easier for 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant colleges need help landing their first job. Ask if the programs you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Unalaska AK dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Unalaska AK area colleges you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private 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 commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Unalaska AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Unalaska AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Unalaska AK?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Unalaska Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Unalaska (Aleut: Iluulux̂, Russian: Уналашка) is the chief center of population in the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska. The population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel.
The Aleut or Unangan people have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Unangan, who were the first to inhabit the island of Unalaska, named it "Ounalashka", meaning "near the peninsula". The regional native corporation has adopted this moniker, and is known as the Ounalashka Corporation. The Russian fur trade reached Unalaska when Stepan Glotov and his crew arrived on August 1, 1759. Natives, Russians and their descendants comprised most of the community's population until the mid-20th century, when the involvement of the United States in World War II led to a large-scale influx of people and construction of buildings all along the strategically located Aleutians.
Almost all of the community's port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just "Dutch". It is the largest fisheries port in the U.S. by volume caught. It includes Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Dutch Harbor lies within the city limits of Unalaska and is connected to Unalaska by a bridge. Amaknak Island is home to almost 59 percent of the city's population, although it has less than 3 percent of its land area.
Dental Assistant Education Unalaska Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Dental Assistant Education and wanting info on Accelerated Dental Assistant Programs. But as you now know, there are numerous options offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require approximately 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 addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Unalaska AK.
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