How to Become a Dental Assistant in Kenai Alaska
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Kenai AK is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant school with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the college’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 be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally 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 looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants in Kenai AK
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Kenai AK dental office and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example pediatrics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are called upon to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing 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 working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Options near Kenai AK
Dental assistant programs are offered at Alaska community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. As previously mentioned, the most typical credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating 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 virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Kenai AK dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant program might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Kenai AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we covered at the opening of this article, a number of potential students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Kenai AK area programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant School Accredited? There are several good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 guarantee that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Kenai AK often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Appropriate 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 Kenai AK college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an exceptional reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are solely interested in a dental assistant degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Many dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Kenai AK area college you choose offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a real Kenai AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant programs need help obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are reviewing have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Kenai AK dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the Kenai AK area programs you are interested in how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant colleges can differ in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 programs, remember to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance departments, so make sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Kenai AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near your Kenai AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Kenai AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Kenai Alaska that you may find helpful.
Kenai (/ˈkiːnaɪ/, KEY-nigh) (Dena'ina: Shk'ituk't) is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 7,100 as of the 2010 census, up from 6,942 in 2000.
The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena'ina (Tanaina) word 'ken' or 'kena', which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge', according to the Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena'ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D. Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena'ina village called Shk'ituk't, meaning "where we slide down." When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village. The traders called the people "Kenaitze", which is a Russian term for "people of the flats", or "Kenai people". This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.
In 1786 Pytor Zaikov built Fort Nikolaevskaia for the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company on the site of modern Kenai, being the first European settlement on the Alaskan mainland. Hostilities surfaced between the natives and settlers in 1797, culminating in an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, later dubbed the battle of Kenai. Over one hundred deaths occurred from all involved parties. Later, in 1838, the introduction of smallpox killed one half of the Dena'ina population.
Choose the Right Dental Assistant Program near Kenai AK
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program is imperative if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require about 1 year of study before they enter the job market. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the best choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Kenai AK.
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