How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Ann Arbor 48103
Choosing the ideal dental assistant program near Ann Arbor MI is an important initial 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 performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other crucial factors 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 receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of money and time that you are willing to invest. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will explore all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Ann Arbor dental practice and can perform a myriad of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working successfully. Some Michigan dental assistants choose to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, such as periodontics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to complete, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Ann Arbor dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. 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 interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are offered at Michigan junior colleges in addition to trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Ann Arbor area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Training
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist college may be a viable option for getting your education. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be provided via your personal computer in the comfort of your Ann Arbor home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition costs than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened also. The clinical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental online program is the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Schools
When you have picked the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Ann Arbor area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Michigan colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, 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 College Accredited? There are a number of good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental school 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. Ann Arbor area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you select offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, the majority of Ann Arbor 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 college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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 only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential portion of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Ann Arbor area dental schools have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the program you enroll in offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are considering have internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real Ann Arbor 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Ask the Michigan schools you are evaluating how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether 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 expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 48103 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Ann Arbor at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental School near Ann Arbor MIEnrolling in the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to obtain your education 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 community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs typically earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by addressing 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 commence your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.