How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Okemos 48805
Picking the right dental assistant program near Okemos MI is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than picking the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting 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 normally takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Okemos dental practice and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Many Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to complete, such as:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering 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 certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Okemos dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously mentioned, 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 initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 duties can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate 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. Once 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 Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan community colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the added responsibility in contrast 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 two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Some programs also offer internships with Okemos area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental hygienist or assistant college may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Okemos home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Okemos area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in nearly all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program 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. Okemos area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. 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, most Okemos area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most Okemos area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal means to get hands-on, practical experience in a professional Okemos dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community as well as large networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Michigan programs you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, large classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses 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 analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 48805 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 need to go to classes near Okemos at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Dental College near Okemos MISelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.