How to Find the Right Dental Assistant or Hygienist College near Marine City 48039
Picking the ideal dental assistant college near Marine City MI is an important initial step toward starting 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 college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant issues to take into account also, for instance the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the 2 specialties you are most interested in getting training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about 1 year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will talk about all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the schools you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options provided.
The Job of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Marine City dental office and can undertake a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. A number of Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and obtain certification in a specific area, for example periodontics. However most assistants carry out any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, such as:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Handing 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 vary 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 decide to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a Marine City dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As earlier mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost 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 licensing exams. After they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Michigan community colleges as well as technical or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assistant classes. Due to the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are normally 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 nearly every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training also. Some programs also offer internships with Marine City area dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Schools
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist program can be a viable option 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 convenience of your Marine City home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of education, you might find that enrolling in an dental online school is the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Schools
After you have selected the dental specialization and kind of credential you would like to obtain, you can start the procedure of comparing Marine City area schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, many potential students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they look for some online options also. Even though these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the Michigan colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are intending to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in nearly all states. To qualify 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 instruction you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Marine City area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can decide to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the school you decide on has the program that you want. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to work as a hygienist, a large number of Marine City area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not common, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are primarily interested in a dental hygiene degree, clearly it would not be the right school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. Most Marine City area dental programs have partnerships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you choose offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are exploring have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best way to obtain hands-on, practical experience in a real Marine City dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Furnished? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools need help landing their first job. Check if the schools you are considering 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 profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the Michigan programs you are looking at how big typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene schools can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and if they are private or public also have an impact. But in addition to the tuition there are other significant costs which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the expenses associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 48039 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Marine City in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up practice is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Pick the Right Dental School near Marine City MIEnrolling in the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist program is essential if you wish to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require roughly 2 years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can choose to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the best selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.