How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Riverside 49084
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Riverside MI is an essential first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to doing your due diligence than selecting the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the college that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the college’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of time and money that you are willing to invest. The most common dental assistant program usually takes about one year to complete for a certificate or diploma. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will cover all of these issues and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Riverside dental practice and can perform a wide range of tasks. Their fundamental job description is to furnish assistance to the admin staff and the dentists. In other words, to help keep the practice operating successfully. Some Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and acquire certification in a specific area, for instance orthodontics. However the majority of assistants carry out any job that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Scheduling and confirming appointments
- Readying 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
- Readying X-ray machines and handling 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 dealing with X-ray machines most likely will need to be licensed and certified. Many 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the duties of a Riverside dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. As previously discussed, the dental assistant works with and in support of the dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. 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 duties may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients regarding oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in almost all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They must also 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, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist & Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to finish. There are fewer Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more extensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from two to as long as three years to finish 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 clinical aspect to the training as well. A number of programs also offer internships with Riverside area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental assistant or hygienist college can be a great alternative for getting your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Riverside home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those working while attending college, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be performed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have selected the dental specialty and type of credential you would like to attain, you can begin the process of comparing Riverside area programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives as well. Although these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Michigan schools you are reviewing in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental assistant or hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually 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 establish that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Riverside area employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just verify that the school you select 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 have a career as a hygienist, many Riverside area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that just because a college has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all 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, clearly it would not be the ideal school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is a necessary component of every dental training program. This is true for the online college options also. Most Riverside area dental programs have relationships with local dental offices and clinics that provide practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you select offers clinical rotation in an area dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Riverside 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 Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Check with the Michigan programs you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally provide a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between teachers and students before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can fluctuate in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 materials, equipment and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the expenses related to your education. Most colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49084 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental college, you must verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you continue working while receiving your education and must attend classes near Riverside at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Dental School near Riverside MISelecting the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is imperative if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to acquire your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal education through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be working in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists generally require roughly 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental assistant or hygienist.