How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Adrian 49221
Picking the right dental assistant college near Adrian MI is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than selecting the college with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Adrian dental practice and can undertake a variety of duties. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are called upon to complete, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Adrian dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Michigan junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Adrian area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Adrian home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while going to school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The clinical training can often be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Adrian area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online options as well. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. 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 exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Adrian area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Adrian area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that just because a school 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 assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. Most Adrian area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Adrian dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Michigan schools you are evaluating how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 49221 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you need to confirm that the hygienist or 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 Adrian in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Dental Program near Adrian MISelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools typically obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the right choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.