How to Pick a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near South Haven 49090
Choosing the right dental assistant program near South Haven MI is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the college that is nearest to your residence. There are other crucial issues to consider also, including the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to invest. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months 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 complete. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you should be asking the programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options available.
The Role of Dental Assistants
Dental assistants are an indispensable component of any South Haven dental practice and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice working efficiently. A number of Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and obtain certification in a particular area, such as periodontics. Even so most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving 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 deviate by state, so consult with the Michigan dental board for your state’s policies. Assistants working with X-ray machines most likely will have to be certified and licensed. Most 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 Duties of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a South Haven dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. As previously mentioned, the dental assistant works with and in support of the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically 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 may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in almost 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 in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant & Hygienist Training Options
Dental assistant courses are offered at Michigan junior colleges along with trade or vocational schools. The most frequent credential earned is the certificate, which generally takes about 1 year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, incorporating general subjects in addition to the dental assisting classes. As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed 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 almost 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 as well. A number of programs also sponsor internships with South Haven area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a great option for getting your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your South Haven home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending college, online dental programs make education far more accessible. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an online dental college is the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist or Assistant Programs
When you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the process of comparing South Haven area schools and programs. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to address to the Michigan programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist or assistant program. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, 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 guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. South Haven area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not offered for non-accredited programs.
Is The Right Dental Program Available? You can choose to train to become a dental hygienist or a dental assistant, just make certain that the school you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many South Haven area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not common, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has a good reputation as well as accreditation does not mean all of its programs do as well. For example, an accredited school may have a solid accredited dental assistant program, but could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are only interested in a dental hygiene degree, obviously it would not be the right school for you.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is an essential part of every dental training program. This applies for the online college options as well. Most South Haven area dental schools have relationships with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the college you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local dental practice that focuses on dental care for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental schools you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best method to receive hands-on, practical experience in a real South Haven 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 also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the programs you are considering have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the dental profession in addition to large networks of contacts where they can position their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Ask the Michigan schools you are interested in how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal atmosphere for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, large classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, ask if you can attend a few classes at the college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and instructors before making a commitment.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant schools can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But besides 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 examining the cost of schools, don’t forget to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 49090 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program offers classes that accommodate your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while acquiring your education and must go to classes near South Haven at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online college, 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 issues.
Select the Right Dental Program near South Haven MISelecting the right dental hygienist or dental assistant program is crucial if you intend to take the CDA exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to obtain your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs usually receive either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning either a degree or a certificate you can elect to go to classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of education or credential you decide to pursue, by asking the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.