How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Detroit Lakes 56501
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program near Detroit Lakes MN is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account as well, including the program’s accreditation and reputation. Your first 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 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. However, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to finish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are evaluating 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
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any Detroit Lakes dental office and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their main job description is to provide support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Minnesota dental assistants elect to specialize and earn certification in a particular area, for example periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, including:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Preparing patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering dental and office supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants deviate by state, so consult with the Minnesota dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of 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 Function of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a Detroit Lakes dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Minnesota practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 Examination as well as any state licensure exams. When 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 & Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Minnesota junior colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most common credential attained is the certificate, which ordinarily takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are generally required to hold 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental assistant or hygienist, there will be a practical component to the training also. A number of programs also sponsor internships with Detroit Lakes area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a viable option for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Detroit Lakes home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced also. The practical training can usually be completed 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 discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an dental online college is the ideal option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have picked the dental specialty and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Detroit Lakes area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Minnesota programs you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the ideal dental program for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant school. If you are intending to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in nearly all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the instruction you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Detroit Lakes area employers often prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just confirm that the college you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, many Detroit Lakes area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a school has a good 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 might have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the ideal college for you.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This holds true for the online college options also. Most Detroit Lakes area dental colleges have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose provides adequate 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, verify that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a regional dental practice that specializes in dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are exploring sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Detroit Lakes 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 too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Find out if the schools you are researching have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges 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 Classrooms Small? Find out from the Minnesota colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are private or public also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial 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 analyzing the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 56501 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental school, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and must go to classes near Detroit Lakes at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Dental Program near Detroit Lakes MNEnrolling in the right dental assistant or dental hygienist program 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 options available to acquire your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require about two 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 decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.