How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Manitou Beach 49253
Picking the right dental assistant college near Manitou Beach MI is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you must analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your home. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about 12 months to finish for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists typically earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you need to be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an essential component of any Manitou Beach dental practice and can carry out a wide range of tasks. Their primary job description is to give assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice running successfully. Many Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing office and dental supplies
Certification and licensing requirements for dental assistants vary by state, so consult with the Michigan dental board for your state’s mandates. Assistants handling X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or elect to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a Manitou Beach dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists 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 every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- 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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental offices 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 finish and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 clinical component to the training as well. Some programs also sponsor internships with Manitou Beach area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist or assistant college might be a viable option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Manitou Beach home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to obtain the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you might find that attending an online dental college is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Programs
After you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to obtain, you can begin the process of comparing Manitou Beach area programs and schools. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the schools. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these may be relevant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan 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 help you with your due diligence and final selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement 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 ensure that the education you get is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Manitou Beach area employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the school you decide on offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Manitou Beach area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that just because a college has an exceptional reputation and 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 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 best college for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options as well. A number of Manitou Beach area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you enroll in 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 colleges you are exploring have internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a professional Manitou Beach dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene programs need help landing their first job. Ask if the schools you are looking at have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Michigan colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal setting for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to experience first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant programs can differ in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example 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 significant 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 comparing the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the costs related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 49253 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while acquiring your education and need to go to classes near Manitou Beach at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Ideal Dental School near Manitou Beach MIPicking the right dental assistant or dental hygienist course is crucial if you want 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 obtain 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, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in just 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When pursuing either a certificate or a degree you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you elect 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 assistant or hygienist.