How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Birch Run 48415
Picking the right dental assistant college near Birch Run MI is an important initial 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 doing your due diligence than picking the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. 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 time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 1 year to finish for a diploma or certificate. On the other hand, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Function of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Birch Run dental office and can carry out a wide range of duties. Their primary job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. A number of Michigan dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example orthodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Birch Run dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensing exams. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can 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 common credential acquired is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about a year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Birch Run area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a good option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Birch Run home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like 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 online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can begin the procedure of comparing Birch Run area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives also. Although these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Michigan schools you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are going to become licensed or certified, 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 guarantee that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Birch Run area employers often desire or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the college you select offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to have a career as a hygienist, most Birch Run area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an excellent reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a solid 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, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Birch Run area dental colleges have partnerships with area dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are exploring sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best way to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Birch Run dental practice. They help 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 Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need help obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high 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 employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Ask the Michigan programs you are reviewing how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, for example the reputations of the colleges and whether they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of colleges, remember to include all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 48415 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental school, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must attend classes near Birch Run at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental Program near Birch Run MIChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of 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 acquire your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.