How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Sturgis 49091
Choosing the ideal dental assistant training near Sturgis MI is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you must examine and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than selecting the school with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider as well, such as the program’s reputation and accreditation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in getting training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you have to commit. The most typical dental assistant program normally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from two to three years to accomplish. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss 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 look at the roles of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options available.
The Job of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an indispensable part of any Sturgis dental office and can perform a wide range of functions. Their main job description is to furnish assistance to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Michigan dental assistants opt to specialize and earn certification in a specific area, for instance periodontics. However most assistants perform any job that they are asked to complete, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Sterilizing and preparing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Supplying instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Purchasing dental and office 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 licensed and certified. Most dental assistants who are either required or opt to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a Sturgis 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 assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Educating patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 as well as any state licensure exams. Once they have completed these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Assistant and Hygienist Education Options
Dental assistant courses are available at Michigan community colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most common credential earned is the certificate, which usually takes about 1 year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. As a result of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take 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 trade schools and community colleges. Whether you are pursuing training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Some programs also sponsor internships with Sturgis area dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Training Programs
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school may be a good alternative for receiving your training. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Sturgis home or elsewhere on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Some may even have lower tuition fees than their on-campus competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be lessened as well. The practical training can typically be performed at a community dental practice 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 discipline for this mode of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental program is the right choice for you.
What to Cover With Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
After you have decided on the dental specialty and type of credential you want to obtain, you can start the process of comparing Sturgis area programs and schools. As we covered at the beginning of this article, a number of potential students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for some online alternatives also. Even though these are important initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the Michigan programs you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in virtually all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental college must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Sturgis area employers frequently prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can elect to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make sure that the college you select has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the options are to enroll in a certificate program or earn an Associate Degree. In order to earn a living as a hygienist, many Sturgis area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. More advanced degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, keep in mind that even if a college 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 strong accredited dental assistant program, but might 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important component of any dental training program. This is true for the online college options as well. Most Sturgis area dental schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the program you select offers sufficient 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, check that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Sturgis dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygiene or assistant schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Find out if the schools you are reviewing have job assistance programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Smaller? Ask the Michigan schools you are looking at how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for training where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the college that you are leaning toward in order to experience first hand the degree of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost dependent on the length of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when examining the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the 49091 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental college, you need to verify 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 Sturgis at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still be required to schedule your clinical 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 responsibilities.
Find the Right Dental School near Sturgis MIPicking the ideal dental hygienist or dental assistant course is important if you intend to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to receive your training and it takes a relatively short period of time to become either a dental hygienist or assistant. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain either a certificate or an Associate Degree. Dental Assistants can be practicing in just nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists normally require about 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 training or credential you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be in a better position to make the ideal choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.