How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Bellevue 49021
Choosing the right dental assistant program near Bellevue MI is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial factors to consider also, including the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the programs you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Bellevue dental practice and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their main job description is to give assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be licensed and certified. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Bellevue dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 Exam as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Bellevue area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good option for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Bellevue home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, 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 commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you might find that attending an dental online college is the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Bellevue area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online options also. Even though these may be significant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Michigan colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite 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 guarantee that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Bellevue area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Bellevue area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a vital component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Most Bellevue area dental schools have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the school you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Bellevue dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools require assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Michigan colleges you are interested in how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49021 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Bellevue in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental College near Bellevue MIPicking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.