How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Columbus 48063
Choosing the right dental hygienist training near Columbus MI is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other important factors to take into account as well, including the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 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 common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options provided.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Columbus dental office and can undertake a multitude of duties. Their principal job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a specific area, for example orthodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will have 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 Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Columbus dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, 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 a one-to-one basis. They are typically the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every 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 responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 examinations. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Michigan junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about one year to complete. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the increased 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 require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Columbus area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be provided by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Columbus home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
Once you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the process of comparing Columbus area schools and programs. As we covered at the beginning of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they search for some online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan programs you are looking at in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental program for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Columbus area employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just confirm that the school you choose offers the program that you want. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, many Columbus area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school 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 solid 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, naturally it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Many Columbus area dental schools have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For 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.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal method to get hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Columbus dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Many graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at 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 profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classes Small? Find out from the Michigan programs you are reviewing how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to find out what is available as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 48063 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Columbus in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online school, you will still have to schedule your clinical 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 issues.
Find the Right Dental School near Columbus MIChoosing the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant program is imperative if you wish to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are a number of options available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these programs generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be working 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 degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training 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 hygienist or assistant.