How to Become a Dental Assistant in Eielson Afb Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant training course near Eielson Afb AK is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than selecting the dental assistant program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is closest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. 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 invest. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year 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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and additional 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 a Dental Assistant in Eielson Afb AK
Dental assistants are an important part of any Eielson Afb AK dental office and can perform a variety of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. Some dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs near Eielson Afb AK
Dental assistant courses are provided at Alaska junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in Alaska community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are pursuing earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Eielson Afb AK dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant course can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind 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 personal computer in the convenience of your Eielson Afb AK home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best option for you.
Issues to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Alaska schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Eielson Afb AK area colleges you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist program 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 condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Employers in Eielson Afb AK often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Eielson Afb AK college you decide on offers the program that you want. However, bear in mind that even if a college 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 Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. A number of dental programs have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Eielson Afb AK area college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Eielson Afb AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental assistant schools need help landing their first job. Check if the programs you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Eielson Afb AK dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Eielson Afb AK area schools you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can differ in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Eielson Afb AK.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near your Eielson Afb AK home at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Eielson Afb AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Eielson Afb Alaska that you may find helpful.
Eielson Air Force Base
Eielson Air Force Base (AFB) (IATA: EIL, ICAO: PAEI, FAA LID: EIL) is a United States Air Force base located approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Fairbanks, Alaska and just southeast of Moose Creek, Alaska. It was established in 1943 as Mile 26 Satellite Field and taken off deployment in 2007. It has been a Superfund site since 1989.
Its host unit is the 354th Fighter Wing (354 FW) assigned to the Eleventh Air Force of the Pacific Air Forces. The 354 FW's primary mission is to support Red Flag – Alaska, a series of Pacific Air Forces commander–directed field training exercises for U.S. Forces, joint offensive counter-air, interdiction, close-air support, and large force employment training in a simulated combat environment. These exercises are conducted on the Joint Pacific Alaskan Range complex with air operations flown out of the two bases.
Eielson is home to the 354th Fighter Wing which is part of the Eleventh Air Force (11 AF) of Pacific Air Forces. The 354th Fighter Wing mission is "To train, deliver, maintain and support combat power across the globe while taking care of our people, their families and our infrastructure." To accomplish that mission, the wing implements flying operations, mission support, maintenance and medical care functions and is host to 10 tenant units.
Pick the Ideal Dental Assistant College near Eielson Afb AK
Selecting the right dental assistant program is essential if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive a Certificate. Dental Assistants typically require roughly 1 year of study prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a certificate or degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Eielson Afb AK.
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