How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist Program near Beaufort South Carolina
Choosing the right dental hygienist school near Beaufort SC is an important first step toward launching your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is much more to doing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the program that is closest to your home. There are other significant factors to take into account also, for instance the program’s reputation and accreditation. Dental hygienists typically 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 prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Beaufort SC dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient encounters when called from the waiting room. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and present their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Teaching patients about oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 licensing examinations. After they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Beaufort SC dental offices are normally required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can require anywhere from two to as long as three years to complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost every state. They are offered in trade and technical schools as well as community colleges. 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 sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Online Dental Hygienist Programs
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college might be a good option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the rest of your classes will be accessible by means of your personal computer in the convenience of your Beaufort SC home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental programs make education much more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And added expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be completed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything required to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this method of education, you might find that attending an online dental hygienist school is the right choice for you.
Points to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Beaufort SC, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of potential students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they look for some online alternatives also. Although these are relevant initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the programs you are reviewing in order to arrive at an informed decision. Toward that end, we have included a list of questions to help you with your evaluation and final selection of the best dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental School Accredited? There are a number of valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the training you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Beaufort SC employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not provided for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Practical or clinical training is a necessary part of any dental training program. This holds true for the online school options as well. A number of dental hygienist programs have associations with regional dental offices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only important that the school you enroll in offers enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. As an example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, check that the college you enroll in offers clinical rotation in a local Beaufort SC dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Ask if the dental programs you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal means to receive hands-on, practical experience in a professional dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students establish working relationships in the professional dental community. And they are attractive on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Most graduating students of dental hygienist colleges need assistance landing their first job. Check if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Programs with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Beaufort SC dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Smaller? Find out from the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more intimate environment for training where students have greater access to the teachers. On the other hand, larger classes can be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, ask if you can monitor a few classes at the Beaufort SC dental hygienist college that you are leaning toward so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can vary in cost based on the length of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other variables, 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 expenses for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. The majority of schools have financial aid departments, so be sure to check out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Beaufort SC area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Beaufort SC in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, 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 issues.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Beaufort SC?
Beaufort, South Carolina
Beaufort (/ˈbjuːfərt/ BEW-fərt, a different pronunciation from that used by the city with the same name in North Carolina) is a city in and the county seat of Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. Chartered in 1711, it is the second-oldest city in South Carolina, behind Charleston. The city's population was 12,361 in the 2010 census. It is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort, SC Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Beaufort is located on Port Royal Island, in the heart of the Sea Islands and South Carolina Lowcountry. The city is renowned for its scenic location and for maintaining a historic character by preservation of its antebellum architecture. The city is also known for its military establishments, being located in close proximity to Parris Island and a U.S. naval hospital, in addition to being home of the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort.
The city has been featured in the New York Times, and named "Best Small Southern Town" by Southern Living, a "Top 25 Small City Arts Destination" by American Style, and a "Top 50 Adventure Town" by National Geographic Adventure.
The Lowcountry region had been subject to numerous European explorations and failed attempts at colonization before the British founded the city in 1711. The city initially grew slowly, subject to numerous attacks from Native American tribes and threats of Spanish invasion. It flourished first as a center for shipbuilding and later, when the colony was established as a slave society, as the elite center for the Lowcountry planters through the Civil War.
Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Beaufort SC
Selecting the right dental hygienist program is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are numerous alternatives offered to receive your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal education through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools usually obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When earning a degree you can elect to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be in a better position to make the appropriate choice. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Beaufort SC.
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