How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Olivet 49076
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist training near Olivet MI is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important factors to take into account also, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the 2 specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Function of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Olivet dental office and can perform a myriad of duties. Their main job description is to provide assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Many Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However the majority of assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. A large number of 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 Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Olivet dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 as well as any state licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Michigan community colleges as well as trade or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the increased 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 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 pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Olivet area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist college might be a viable alternative for getting your education. 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 accessible via your personal computer in the comfort of your Olivet home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online program is the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have selected the dental specialty and kind of credential you wish to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Olivet area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Olivet area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, often they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make sure that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, most Olivet area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are available. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an exceptional reputation and 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. A number of Olivet area dental programs have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are considering have an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Olivet dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Find out if the colleges you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Check with the Michigan schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes tend to be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49076 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Olivet in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Dental Program near Olivet MIEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs generally receive either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.