How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Escanaba 49829
Picking the ideal dental assistant school near Escanaba MI is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to take into account also, including the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges 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 Escanaba dental office and can undertake a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any task that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the job of a Escanaba dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They may also 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
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Escanaba area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Escanaba home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Escanaba area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Michigan colleges you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. 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 school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Escanaba area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Escanaba area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an excellent reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. A number of Escanaba area dental schools have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the college you enroll in provides adequate 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, check that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Escanaba dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need assistance getting their first job. Check if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Check with the Michigan colleges you are interested in how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when examining the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49829 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 continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Escanaba at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Dental Program near Escanaba MIChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can elect 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 or hygienist.