How to Choose a Dental Hygienist College near Aiken South Carolina
Selecting the ideal dental hygienist school near Aiken SC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the training with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other significant factors to take into account as well, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist schools you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the main difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Aiken SC practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are frequently the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination in addition to passing any state licensing examinations. Once they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
As a result of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Aiken SC dental offices are normally required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from 2 to as long as 3 years to finish and must be accredited by the CDA in virtually every state. They are offered in community colleges as well as trade and technical schools. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a practical component to the training as well| Many programs also offer internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Selecting an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for getting your training. Just keep in mind that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Aiken SC home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition costs than their traditional competitors. And added expenses such as for books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can typically be completed at a community dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this mode of learning, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online program is the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Aiken SC, you can begin the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of prospective students begin by checking out the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are several additional questions that you need to ask of the schools you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only choose an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a prerequisite in virtually all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental program must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Aiken SC employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, usually they are not available for non-accredited colleges.
Is Plenty of Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of any dental training program. This is true for the online school options as well. Most dental hygienist programs have relationships with area dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you select offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the school you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Aiken SC dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the best means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students build working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist schools require assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges 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 Aiken SC dental profession in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classrooms Small? Check with the colleges you are looking at how large on average their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for training where students have greater access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Aiken SC dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the degree of interaction between students and instructors before enrolling.
What is the Overall Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene schools can fluctuate in cost depending on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, for instance the reputations of the colleges and if they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to 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 examining the cost of schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most schools have financial assistance departments, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Aiken SC area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while receiving your education and have to go to classes near Aiken SC 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 protocol is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Aiken SC?
Aiken, South Carolina
Aiken is the largest city and county seat of Aiken County, in the western portion of the state of South Carolina, United States. With Augusta, Georgia, it is one of the two largest cities of the Central Savannah River Area. It is part of the Augusta-Richmond County Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in 1835, it was named after William Aiken, the president of the South Carolina Railroad. It became part of Aiken County when the county was formed in 1871 from parts of Orangeburg, Lexington, Edgefield, and Barnwell counties.
Aiken is located at 33°32′58″N 81°43′14″W / 33.54944°N 81.72056°W / 33.54944; -81.72056 (33.549397, -81.720689), near the center of Aiken County. It is 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Augusta, Georgia, along U.S. Route 1 and 78. Interstate 20 passes 6 miles (10 km) to the north of the city, with access via South Carolina Highway 19 (Exit 18) and US 1 (Exit 22).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 20.8 square miles (54.0 km2), of which 20.7 square miles (53.6 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.68%, is water.
Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Aiken SC
Choosing the right dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are several options offered to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can receive your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these programs usually receive an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists generally require roughly two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you choose to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And by doing so, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Aiken SC.
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