How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Michigan Center 49254
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist college near Michigan Center MI is an important 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 far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, such as the program’s accreditation and reputation. 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 money and time that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, 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 cost. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Michigan Center dental practice and can carry out a variety of functions. Their primary job description is to provide assistance 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 obtain certification in a particular area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines more than likely will need 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the role of a Michigan Center dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously 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 usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can 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 in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally 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 nearly 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 clinical component to the training as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Michigan Center area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable alternative for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the convenience of your Michigan Center home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental program is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have picked the dental specialization and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Michigan Center area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many prospective students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order 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 education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Michigan Center 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, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, the majority of Michigan Center area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a school has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Enough Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Michigan Center area dental programs have associations with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical 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 kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Michigan Center dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the Michigan schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have greater access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes often are impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene programs can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and if 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 costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49254 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and need to attend classes near Michigan Center in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family issues.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Michigan Center MIEnrolling in the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you want to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are numerous options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly two years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. 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 by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.