How to Enroll In a Dental Assistant or Hygienist School near Hale 48739
Selecting the right dental hygienist school near Hale MI is an essential initial step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the college with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to consider also, for instance the school’s reputation and accreditation. Your initial step is to decide which of the two specialties you are most interested in receiving training for, which may be contingent on the amount of time and money that you are willing to commit. The most common dental assistant program generally takes about one year to complete for a diploma or certificate. However, dental hygienists usually earn an Associate Degree, which can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to complete. Naturally with the lengthier training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will explore all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the schools you are reviewing later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of both dental hygienists and assistants and the training options offered.
The Role of a Dental Assistant
Dental assistants are an integral part of any Hale dental practice and can perform a multitude of functions. Their fundamental job description is to give support to the dentists and the administrative staff. Or simply put, to help keep the practice working efficiently. Some Michigan dental assistants choose to specialize and receive certification in a particular area, for example pediatrics. Even so most assistants perform any duty that they are called upon to fulfill, including:
- Setting and verifying appointments
- Readying patients for teeth cleanings and treatments
- Preparing and sterilizing instruments for dentists
- Using suction equipment to clear patients’ mouths
- Providing instruments to dentists during procedures
- Prepping X-ray machines and processing X-rays
- Ordering 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 policies. Assistants dealing with X-ray machines most likely will have 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) examination offered by the Dental Assisting National Board (DANB).
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a Hale dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. As earlier discussed, the dental assistant works with and assists the practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also assisting the Michigan practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
To qualify for licensing in nearly all states, dental hygienists must have graduated from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. When 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 Hygienist and Assistant Education Options
Dental assistant programs are provided at Michigan junior colleges along with vocational or technical schools. The most frequent credential acquired is the certificate, which usually takes about one year to complete. There are less Associate Degree programs offered, and they provide a more expansive education, including general subjects in addition to the dental assisting courses. Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in dental offices are often 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 trade schools and community colleges. Regardless of whether you are interested in training as a dental hygienist or assistant, there will be a practical aspect to the training as well. Many programs also sponsor internships with Hale area dental practices or dentists.
Dental Online Training
Selecting an online dental assistant or hygienist school can be a good option for obtaining your training. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be completely online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available by means of your desktop computer in the convenience of your Hale home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while attending school, online dental classes make education a lot more obtainable. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced as well. The clinical training can often be completed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an online dental school is the right choice for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Assistant or Hygienist Colleges
When you have decided on the dental specialization and type of credential you wish to attain, you can start the procedure of comparing Hale area programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the location and the cost of the schools. Possibly they search for several online options also. Even though these are important initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the Michigan programs you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are several valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist or assistant college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order 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 instruction you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Hale area employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited colleges. And last, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not provided for non-accredited colleges.
Is The Correct Dental Program Offered? You can choose to train to become a dental assistant or a dental hygienist, just make certain that the college you choose offers the program that’s right for you. For the assistant program, the alternatives are to earn either a certificate or an Associate Degree. In order to work as a hygienist, most Hale area dental offices require an Associate Degree in dental hygiene. Higher degrees, although not prevalent, are available. However, keep in mind that even if a college has an exceptional reputation as well as accreditation does not mean each one 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 best school for you.
Is Sufficient Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is an important part of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of Hale area dental colleges have relationships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you enroll in offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently would like to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the school you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a regional dental office that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a professional Hale dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build professional relationships in the local dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygiene or assistant colleges need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the programs you are researching 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 broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Smaller? Check with the Michigan colleges you are evaluating how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a few classes at the school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene and dental assistant training can differ in cost based on the length of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also have an impact. But besides 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 equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid departments, so be sure to find out what is offered as far as loans, grants and scholarships in the 48739 area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental college, you must confirm that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Hale in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still need to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up practice is if you should have to miss any classes due to illness, work or family issues.
Pick the Ideal Dental School near Hale MIChoosing the ideal dental assistant or dental hygienist course is essential if you want to take the CDA examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become either a dental assistant or hygienist. You can acquire your formal training 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 9 months to a year, while Dental Hygienists usually require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the work force. When earning either a certificate or a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training or credential you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist or assistant.