How to Pick the Best Dental Assistant College near Whittier Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant school near Whittier AK is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 credentials you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand 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 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 roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Whittier AK dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However most assistants perform any duty that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so consult with the Alaska dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. 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 offer internships with Whittier AK dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant course may be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the classes 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 convenience of your Whittier AK home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the right option for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Whittier AK area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the ideal dental assistant school for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Whittier AK typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often 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 verify that the Whittier AK school you select offers the program that you want. However, keep in mind that just because a school has an exceptional 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, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Many dental schools have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Whittier AK area college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Whittier AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant colleges require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Whittier AK dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the Whittier AK area colleges you are looking at how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate setting for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can vary in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant 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 comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Whittier AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near your Whittier AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Considering a Dental Assistant Program near Whittier AK?
If you are considering a dental assistant school in the Whittier Alaska area, following is some interesting history and background information about your future campus location that you may find useful.
Whittier is a city at the head of the Passage Canal in the U.S. state of Alaska, about 58 miles (93 km) southeast of Anchorage. The city is within the Valdez–Cordova Census Area. At the 2010 census the population was 220, up from 182 in 2000. The 2016 estimate was 214 people, almost all of whom live in a single building. Whittier is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
The region occupied by Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to Prince William Sound. Later, the passage was used by Russian and American explorers, and by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The nearby Whittier glacier was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915, and the town eventually took the name as well.
During World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad near Whittier Glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
Dentist Assistant Schools Whittier Alaska
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. You originally came to this website due to an interest in Dentist Assistant Schools and wanting info on Dental Assistant Schooling Requirements. But as we have covered, there are numerous options offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study prior to entering the job market. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect 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 Whittier AK.
Other Alaska Dentistry Locations