How to Select a Dental Assistant or Hygienist Program near Union Lake 48387
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Union Lake MI is an important first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider as well, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. Your first step is to decide which of the two specializations you are most interested in obtaining training for, which may depend on the amount of money and time that you are willing to commit. The most typical dental assistant program generally takes about 12 months to complete for a diploma or certificate. Meanwhile, dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these concerns and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental assistants and hygienists and the training options offered.
The Duties of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an important component of any Union Lake dental office and can carry out a multitude of tasks. Their principal job description is to furnish support to the dentists and the administrative staff. In other words, to help keep the practice operating efficiently. Many Michigan dental assistants elect to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so the majority of assistants carry out any duty that they are asked to fulfill, for example:
- Setting and confirming appointments
- Prepping patients for teeth treatments and cleanings
- Preparing and sterilizing dental instruments
- Clearing patients’ mouths with suction equipment
- Giving instruments to dentists during procedures
- Preparing X-ray machines and handling 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 mandates. Assistants working with X-ray machines more than likely will need to be certified and licensed. A large number of dental assistants who are either required or choose to become certified take the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) exam provided by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Function of Dental Hygienists
When comparing the duties of a Union Lake dental assistant to that of a hygienist, 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 supporting the Michigan practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the initial person a patient encounters when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed 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 as well as any state licensing exams. Once 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 Training Options
Dental assistant programs are available at Michigan community colleges as well as vocational or technical schools. The most typical credential acquired is the certificate, which generally takes about a year to finish. There are less Associate Degree programs available, and they furnish a more comprehensive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assistant courses. Because of the additional responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental practices are generally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. These programs can take anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are also offered in community colleges and technical schools. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a clinical component to the training also. Many programs also offer internships with Union Lake area dentists or dental practices.
Dental Online Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist or assistant program might be a great option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a practical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be accessible via your personal computer in the convenience of your Union Lake 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 offer lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The clinical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of learning, you might find that attending an dental online school is the right option for you.
Points to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
Once you have selected the dental specialization and type of credential you would like to earn, you can start the procedure of comparing Union Lake area programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, many potential students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Even though these may be relevant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you should address to the Michigan schools you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental college for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental assistant or hygienist school. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost all states. To qualify to take the Certified Dental Assistant exam, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps establish that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Union Lake area employers frequently prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, often they are not obtainable for non-accredited schools.
Is The Proper Dental Program Available? You can opt to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you decide on has the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the choices are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. If you want to earn a living as a hygienist, many Union Lake area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are offered. However, bear in mind that even if a school has an excellent 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 could have a weaker or non-accredited hygienist program. So if you are just interested in a dental hygiene degree, naturally it would not be the right school for you.
Is Adequate Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an essential component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online college options as well. A number of Union Lake area dental programs have associations with regional dental practices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are probably the ideal way to get hands-on, practical experience in a real Union Lake dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Most graduating students of dental assistant or hygiene schools need assistance landing their first job. Find out if the programs you are looking at have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the dental profession as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the Michigan schools you are reviewing how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal environment for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the college that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Cost of the Program? Dental assistant and dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the amount of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the colleges 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 textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of colleges, remember to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 48387 area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to go to classes near Union Lake at nights or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Ideal Dental College near Union Lake MIChoosing the right dental hygienist or dental assistant course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to acquire your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs normally earn either an Associate Degree or a certificate. Dental Assistants can be practicing in as little as nine months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When obtaining either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever credential or mode of training you decide 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 start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.