Dental Health Aide
At a Glance
Years in School (after high school graduation):
2 years or less
$15.29-$29.61 (Mean $21.72)
*Based on 2016 Alaska DOL data for healthcare support workers
One-page Description (PDF):
Like Community Health Aides/Practitioners, Dental Health Aides (DHAs) were created by the Alaska Tribal Health System to address disparities experienced by Alaska Native people living in rural Alaska and provide care in provider shortage areas. DHAs live in rural Alaskan villages and deliver dental disease prevention and education services. DHAs are usually supervised by a dentist. DHAs generally live and work in remote areas, communicating regularly with their supervisor by telemedicine, telephone, e-mail, or radio. The Dental Health Aide Therapists (DHATs), one type of DHA, can perform simple tooth extractions and dental cavity fillings. This type of DHA requires completion of a two-year educational program and are enrolled as Associate of Applied Science in Dental Therapy from Ilisagvik College, Alaska’s only Tribal College.
Dental Health Aides must be employed by a tribal health organization or by tribal councils. Tribal health organizations usually make the selection for employment and training. Some DHAs work as itinerants, working in a number of different villages each year.
- There are currently 6 levels of dental health aides, each with their own educational requirements and scope of work and standards: Primary Dental Health Aide I & II, Expanded Function Dental Health Aide I & II, Dental Health Aide Therapist, and Dental Health Aide Hygienist.
- A high school diploma or GED certificate are standard requirements for admission to DHA training (exception: DHA Hygienist, see below)
- While not a requirement for admission, college level coursework is recommended for students considering DHAT
- The Dental Health Aide Hygienist requires a license to practice as a dental hygienist and completion of approved classes in local anesthesia.
- All DHAs may obtain certification at their level of training by meeting program requirements determined by the CHA Program Certification Board.
Dental Health Aide educational sessions are organized by the Tribal Regional Health Organizations such as Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) in Juneau or the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation in Bethel, and are usually held at a hub dental program. The Alaska Dental Therapy Educational Program at Ilisagvik College leads to an Associate of Applied Science degree. Contact your local dental program or tribal health program for more information.
More information can also be found at the following websites:
Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium
Dr. Mary Williard
Phone: (907) 729-5600
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