How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Vicksburg 49097
Picking the ideal dental hygienist training near Vicksburg MI is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the training with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to consider also, such as the college’s accreditation and reputation. Your initial 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 money and time that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Duties of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral component of any Vicksburg dental practice and can carry out a multitude of functions. Their primary job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, such as pediatrics. However most assistants carry out any task that they are called upon to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s regulations. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be licensed and certified. 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Vicksburg dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, work 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 teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are often 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Vicksburg area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Training Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college can be a great option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Vicksburg home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even have lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at an area dental office 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 discipline for this style of learning, you may find that attending an online dental school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
Once you have picked the dental specialization and kind of credential you wish to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Vicksburg area schools and programs. As we covered at the start of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Michigan colleges you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the training you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Vicksburg area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Vicksburg 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 college has an excellent 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 just interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options also. Many Vicksburg area dental schools have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real Vicksburg dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require help landing their first job. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Michigan schools you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal atmosphere for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the level of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and if they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49097 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and have to go to classes near Vicksburg in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Choose the Right Dental Program near Vicksburg MIPicking the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are many options available to receive your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.