How to Select a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Clemson South Carolina
Picking the right dental hygienist college near Clemson SC is an essential first step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your choice, you need to analyze and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than selecting the school with the lowest tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account also, including the school’s accreditation and reputation. 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 accomplish. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these factors and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs provided.
The Role of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Clemson SC dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s duties may include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching 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 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 regarded as fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Due to the increased responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Clemson SC dental practices are usually required to hold an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. 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 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.
Dental Hygienist Online Colleges
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist college may be a viable option for obtaining your training. Just remember that the classes will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Clemson SC home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Many may even charge lower tuition rates than their on-campus counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be reduced as well. The practical training can usually be performed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to obtain the appropriate education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you might find that enrolling in an online dental hygienist school is the right option for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Clemson SC, you can begin the process of comparing programs and schools. As we discussed at the beginning of this article, many students begin by checking out the location and the cost of the schools. Maybe they search 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 schools you are comparing in order to make an informed decision. Toward that end, we have furnished a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many good reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist school. If you are planning to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement 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 establish that the education you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Clemson SC employers frequently desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And finally, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not available for non-accredited programs.
Is Sufficient Clinical Training Provided? Clinical or practical training is an important portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental offices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the school you select provides adequate 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, check that the college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Clemson SC dental office that focuses on dental treatment for children.
Are Internships Available? Ask if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are probably the most effective way to get 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 form working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs need help obtaining their first job. Ask if the programs 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 Clemson SC dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can position their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Check with the schools you are evaluating how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for learning where students have increased access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can monitor a few classes at the Clemson SC dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can witness first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost depending 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 private or public also have an impact. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 include all of the costs associated with your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Clemson SC area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you must make sure that the assistant or hygienist program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while acquiring your education and have to attend classes near Clemson SC in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online school, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up protocol is if you should have to miss any classes because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Clemson SC?
Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson is a city in Pickens and Anderson counties in the U.S. state of South Carolina. Clemson is home to Clemson University; in 2015, the Princeton Review cited the town of Clemson as ranking #1 in the United States for "town-and-gown" relations with its resident university. The population of the city was 13,905 at the 2010 census.
Clemson is part of the Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, South Carolina Combined Statistical Area. Most of the city is in Pickens County, which is part of the Greenville-Mauldin-Easley Metropolitan Statistical Area. A small portion is in Anderson County, which is part of the Anderson Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The city of Clemson's character is largely defined by Clemson University, a large public university that dates to 1889. The university is the cultural center of the city, even though a small multi-block downtown with housing, retail and restaurants is directly to the north of the campus. The community was originally named Calhoun and was renamed Clemson in 1943.
Although the university provides housing for students, many students live off campus in a wide variety of apartment complexes. Save for the downtown, sidewalks are largely absent, but some streets have bike paths. U.S. Route 123 on the northern end of the city exhibits typical suburban-style shopping center developments. The city's comprehensive plan has a historic preservation component which will likely become more important as 1950s and '60s buildings acquire historic status. The Clemson (train) Depot, built in 1893, was rehabilitated in 2001 and now houses the local chamber of commerce and visitor center. A road project has closed the station as of 2016, with no known completion date.
Select the Best Dental Hygienist College near Clemson SC
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of alternatives offered to receive your education 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 typically earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can elect to attend classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by addressing the questions presented in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Clemson SC.
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