How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Grand Blanc 48439
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Grand Blanc MI is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider as well, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental 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 offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Grand Blanc dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering 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 regulations. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Grand Blanc dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. When 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 and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Michigan community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices 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 vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Grand Blanc area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Classes
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Grand Blanc home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an online dental college is the best choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
After you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to earn, you can start the process of comparing Grand Blanc area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives as well. Even though these are important initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Michigan programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Grand Blanc area employers typically desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to have a career as a hygienist, many Grand Blanc area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Grand Blanc area dental colleges have relationships with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective way to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Grand Blanc dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Michigan programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 48439 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and have to attend classes near Grand Blanc in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Dental College near Grand Blanc MISelecting the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is important if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to receive your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by asking the questions presented 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 hygienist or assistant.