How to Choose a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Holland 49422
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Holland MI is an important initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, including the school’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 are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Naturally with the more extensive training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an important part of any Holland dental practice and can undertake a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice running efficiently. Many Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Licensing and certification requirements for dental assistants differ by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines more than likely will have to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) examination provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a Holland dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed 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 Exam in addition to passing any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered 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 provided at Michigan junior colleges along with technical or vocational schools. The most common credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more extensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in nearly 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 clinical component to the training also. Many programs also sponsor internships with Holland area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Holland home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental online college is the best option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialization and kind of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Holland area programs and schools. 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. Although these are relevant initial points to consider, there are a few 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 furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the ideal dental school for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. To qualify 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 education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Holland area employers typically desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Appropriate Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you select has 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 have a career as a hygienist, the majority of Holland area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. 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 strong 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, clearly it would not be the best college for you.
Is Adequate Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. A number of Holland area dental colleges have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you enroll in provides sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Holland dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant schools need help getting their first job. Ask if the programs you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community as well as broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Michigan programs you are looking at how big on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial costs which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49422 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and need to go to classes near Holland at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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.
Choose the Right Dental College near Holland MIPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options available to obtain your education and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these schools generally receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.