How to Become a Dental Assistant in Cordova Alaska
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Cordova AK is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the dental assistant training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial 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 have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally 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 complete. Obviously with the more extensive training comes more cost. We will explore all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental assistant schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Duties of Dental Assistants in Cordova AK
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Cordova AK dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running efficiently. A number of dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many 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 Options near Cordova AK
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. These programs can require 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. 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. Some programs also offer internships with Cordova AK dental practices or dentists.
Dental Assistant Online Classes
Selecting an online dental assistant program might be a great alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Cordova AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice 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 discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Cordova AK area colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Cordova AK often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska colleges.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Cordova AK school you select offers the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that just because a college 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 solid accredited dental hygienist program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the Cordova AK area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Cordova 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 Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental assistant schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Cordova AK dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Cordova AK area schools you are looking at how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can 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 leaning toward in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Cordova AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to verify that the assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Cordova AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, 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 because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Cordova AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Cordova Alaska that you may find helpful.
Cordova (/kɔːrˈdoʊvə, ˈkɔːrdəvə/) is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census, down from 2,454 in 2000. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing. It was cleaned up shortly after, but there are lingering effects, such as a lowered population of some birds.
In 1790 the inlet in front of the current Cordova townsite was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo, after Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova. The town of Cordova was named after it, although the inlet itself was later renamed the Orca Inlet. Cordova proper was founded as a result of the discovery of high-grade copper ore at Kennecott, north of Cordova. A group of surveyors from Valdez laid out a town site and Michael James Heney purchased half the land for the terminus of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway after determining that the neighboring town of Katalla was a poor harbor. Heney and his crew held a brief ceremony to organize the town on March 26, 1906. A week later crews arrived to begin work on the railroad. The first lots in the new town site, which make up the heart of present-day Cordova, were sold at auction in May 1908. As the railroad grew, so did the town. Eventually schools, businesses, a hospital, and utilities were established. After the railroad was completed Cordova became the transportation hub for the ore coming out of Kennecott. In the years 1911 to 1938, more than 200 million tons of copper ore was transported through Cordova.
The area around Cordova was historically home to the Eyak, with a population of Chugach to the west, and occasional visits from Ahtna and Tlingit people for trade or battle. The last full-blooded Eyak Marie Smith Jones died in 2008, but the native traditions and lifestyle still has an influence on the local culture. Cordova was also once the home of a booming razor clam industry, and between 1916 and the late 1950s it was known as the "Razor Clam Capital of the World". Commercial harvest in the area was as much as 3.5 million pounds. Returns began declining in the late 1950s, presumably due to overharvesting and a large die-off in 1958. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake effectively and completely obliterated the industry; in some areas, the ground was thrust up by as much as six feet, exposing the already depleted clam beds. There has been no commercial harvest in the area since 1988 with the exception of a brief harvest in 1993.
Find the Ideal Dental Assistant Program near Cordova AK
Selecting the ideal dental assistant program is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options offered to obtain 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants usually require about 1 year of study before they enter 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 choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Cordova AK.
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