Accredited Dental Assistant Schools | How to Become a Dental Assistant near Stephenson MI 49887

How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Stephenson 49887

dental assistant training in Stephenson MIChoosing the ideal dental assistant college near Stephenson MI is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to completing your due diligence than picking the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, for instance the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, 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 expense. We will discuss all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.

The Role of Dental Assistants

Stephenson dental assistant helping dentist 49887Dental assistants are an essential component of any Stephenson dental practice and can undertake a wide range of duties. Their fundamental job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, including:

  • Scheduling and confirming appointments
  • Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
  • Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
  • Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
  • Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
  • Readying 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 policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most 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) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).

The Duties of a Dental Hygienist

Stephenson dental hygienist treating patient in MichiganWhen comparing the role of a Stephenson dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:

  • Removing stains, tartar and plaque
  • Administering fluoride treatments
  • Applying sealants and polishing teeth
  • Educating patients regarding oral hygiene
  • Taking X-rays and developing film
  • 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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensure examinations. When 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 Training Options

Dental assistant programs are available at Michigan junior colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most typical credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually 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 component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Stephenson area dentists or dental practices.

Online Dental Training

attending dental assistant school online in Stephenson homeChoosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school might be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% 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 convenience of your Stephenson home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can typically be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online school is the ideal option for you.

What to Cover With Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs

Questions to ask Michigan dental colleges 49887When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can start the process of comparing Stephenson area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many prospective students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for several online options also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Michigan colleges you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.

Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Stephenson area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not available for non-accredited colleges.

Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, the majority of Stephenson area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal college for you.

Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. A number of Stephenson area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program 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 are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental office that focuses on dental services for children.

Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective method to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Stephenson dental practice. They help 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 Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene colleges need assistance landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement 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 extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.

Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Michigan colleges you are interested in how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more intimate environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.

 What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools 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 schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other significant costs 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 schools, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49887 area.

Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Stephenson at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Dental College near Stephenson MI

Picking the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many options offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire 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 practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.

 

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