How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist Training Program near Spring Lake 49456
Choosing the right dental hygienist college near Spring Lake MI is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to take into account also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 money and time that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Spring Lake dental office and can carry out a multitude of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any task that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Readying X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many 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 comparing the duties of a Spring Lake dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure exams. When they have fulfilled 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 programs are available at Michigan junior colleges in addition to vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally required to have 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 almost every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Spring Lake area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a great alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be available by means of your personal computer in the comfort of your Spring Lake home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
After you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the process of comparing Spring Lake area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of prospective students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Michigan programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify 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 receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Spring Lake area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you choose has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Spring Lake area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college 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, obviously it would not be the best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an essential component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. Many Spring Lake area dental schools have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select provides adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the best way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Spring Lake dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Furnished? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Michigan schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can fluctuate in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49456 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near Spring Lake in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 issues.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Spring Lake MIPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options offered to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs usually obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.