How to Become a Dental Assistant in Girdwood Alaska
Selecting the right dental assistant training course near Girdwood AK is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the dental assistant school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the one that is nearest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, such as the college’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 be contingent on the amount of money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to finish for a diploma or certificate. However dental assistants may also earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the more extensive training comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental assistant schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental assistants and further discuss the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants in Girdwood AK
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Girdwood AK dental practice and can undertake a myriad of functions. Their principal job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of dental assistants opt to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Alaska dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
Dental Assistant Training Programs near Girdwood AK
Dental assistant programs are available at Alaska junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. As previously mentioned, the most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three 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. Whether you are interested in earning a certificate or a degree as a dental assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Girdwood AK dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Assistant Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant school may be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Girdwood AK home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education far more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental hygienist online college is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Assistant Programs
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Alaska programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the Girdwood AK area programs you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Assistant Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant college. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Employers in Girdwood AK frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited Alaska programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant by earning either a Certificate or an Associate Degree. Just make sure that the Girdwood AK college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. However, bear in mind that just because a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental hygienist program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited dental assistant program. So if you are just interested in a dental assistant degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of dental colleges have partnerships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you choose provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the Girdwood AK area school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are considering have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Girdwood AK dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many graduating students of dental assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Girdwood AK dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Girdwood AK area colleges you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in Girdwood AK.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near your Girdwood AK home in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Considering Attending Dental Assistant School near Girdwood AK?
Following is some interesting background information about Girdwood Alaska that you may find helpful.
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.
Select the Right Dental Assistant School near Girdwood AK
Selecting the ideal dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs typically earn a Certificate. Dental Assistants generally require roughly one year of study before they enter the work force. When earning a certificate or degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant in Girdwood AK.
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