How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Idlewild 49642
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Idlewild MI is an essential first step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must assess and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than selecting the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to finish for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these issues and additional questions that you should be asking the programs you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an essential part of any Idlewild dental practice and can perform a variety of functions. Their fundamental job description is to provide support to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Michigan dental assistants choose to specialize and acquire certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and handling X-rays
- Ordering office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so check with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will need to be certified and licensed. Many dental assistants who are either required or decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the job of a Idlewild dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and assists the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are often the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 must also pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensure exams. After they have completed these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Michigan junior colleges as well as vocational or technical 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 extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are usually 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 almost every state. They are also offered in vocational schools and community colleges. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical component to the training as well. Many programs also offer internships with Idlewild area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist program might be a viable alternative for receiving your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Idlewild home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. 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 required to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to earn, you can begin the procedure of comparing Idlewild area schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should ask of the Michigan schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many important reasons why you should only select an accredited dental assistant or hygienist college. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. In order to take the Certified Dental Assistant examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Idlewild area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just verify that the college you select has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, most Idlewild area dental practices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a college has a good reputation and accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited college may have a strong accredited dental assistant program, but may have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are solely interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Many Idlewild area dental programs have partnerships with local dental practices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional Idlewild dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require help landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Small? Find out from the Michigan schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes usually provide a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can attend a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant colleges can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other significant expenses 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 comparing the cost of colleges, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial assistance offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 49642 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Idlewild at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family issues.
Find the Ideal Dental School near Idlewild MISelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you want to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools typically earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education 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 begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.