Search For Dental Hygienist Programs | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Greenland MI 49929

How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Greenland 49929

dental assistant training in Greenland MISelecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Greenland MI is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors to take into account also, such as the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations 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 common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these considerations and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Function of Dental Assistants

Greenland dental assistant helping dentist 49929Dental assistants are an integral component of any Greenland dental office and can perform a myriad of functions. Their primary job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Michigan dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, including:

  • Setting and verifying appointments
  • Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Preparing X-ray machines and handling 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 dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Role of Dental Hygienists

Greenland dental hygienist treating patient in MichiganWhen comparing the duties of a Greenland dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. 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 a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Polishing teeth and applying sealants
  • Instructing patients regarding oral care
  • Taking and developing X-rays
  • 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.

Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options

Dental assistant programs are provided at Michigan junior colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices are generally 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also offer internships with Greenland area dentists or dental practices.

Dental Online Training

attending dental assistant school online in Greenland homeChoosing an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Greenland home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the best choice for you.

What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs

Questions to ask Michigan dental colleges 49929Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Greenland area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they look for some online options also. Although these are significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Michigan programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental school for you.

Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually 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 guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Greenland area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not available for non-accredited schools.

Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Greenland area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the best school for you.

Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. Most Greenland area dental schools have partnerships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Greenland dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant programs require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the colleges you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.

Are Classes Small? Ask the Michigan schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.

 What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other significant costs 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 49929 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while getting your education and must attend classes near Greenland in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have 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 illness, work or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Dental Program near Greenland MI

Enrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require approximately 2 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 mode of training or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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