How to Pick a Dental Hygienist School near Columbia South Carolina
Picking the ideal dental hygienist program near Columbia SC is an important initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must examine 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 nearest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider also, for instance the program’s accreditation and reputation. Dental hygienists generally earn an Associate Degree, as compared to a certificate usually earned by assistants, and can take anywhere from 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will talk about all of these considerations and supplemental questions that you need to be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are evaluating later in this article. But first, let’s explore the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs offered.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the job of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Columbia SC practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, work with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the first person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting room. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and present their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing plaque, tartar and stains
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
In order to be licensed in almost all states, dental hygienists must graduate from a Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA) accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam as well as any state licensing exams. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Due to the added responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Columbia SC dental offices are usually required to hold 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 nearly every state. They are offered in trade and vocational schools as well as community colleges. And in addition to classroom studies learning the fundamentals of dental hygiene, there will be a clinical aspect to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Dental Hygienist Online Training
Selecting an online dental hygienist college can be a great option for receiving your education. Just keep in mind that the classes will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your personal computer in the comfort of your Columbia 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 accessible. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at an area dental office or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything necessary to get the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this mode of learning, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online school is the ideal choice for you.
Subjects to Cover With Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Columbia SC, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of potential students start by looking at the location and the cost of the colleges. Perhaps they search for several online alternatives as well. Even though these may be relevant initial points to consider, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the colleges you are reviewing in order to reach an informed decision. Toward that end, we have provided a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist college for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, 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. Columbia SC employers typically prefer or require that job applicants are graduates of accredited programs. And last, 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 component of every dental training program. This holds true for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist schools have partnerships with area dental practices and clinics that provide clinical training for their students. It’s not only important that the program you choose offers sufficient clinical hours but also provides them in the type 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 college you choose offers clinical rotation in a local Columbia SC dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Find out if the dental programs you are looking at sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the best method to receive hands-on, clinical experience in a professional dental practice. They make it easier for students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students create professional relationships in the Columbia SC dentistry community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance obtaining their first job. Check if the schools you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with higher job placement rates are likely to have good reputations within the Columbia SC dental community as well as extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classrooms Small? Check with the schools you are reviewing how big typically their classrooms are. The smaller classes generally provide a more intimate atmosphere for training where students have increased access to the instructors. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and offer little individualized instruction. If feasible, find out if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Columbia SC dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Entire Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of clinical training provided. Other factors, such as the reputations of the schools and whether they are public or private also come into play. But in addition to the tuition there are other substantial costs 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 analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to include all of the expenses related to your education. Most schools have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Columbia SC area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist school, you need to make sure that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Columbia SC in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you choose an online college, you will still need to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Columbia SC?
Columbia, South Carolina
Columbia is the capital and second largest city of the U.S. state of South Carolina, with a population estimate of 134,309 as of 2016. The city serves as the county seat of Richland County, and a portion of the city extends into neighboring Lexington County. It is the center of the Columbia metropolitan statistical area, which had a population of 767,598 as of the 2010 United States Census, growing to 817,488 by July 1, 2016, according to 2015 U.S. Census estimates. The name Columbia is a poetic term used for the United States, originating from the name of Christopher Columbus.
The city is located approximately 13 miles (21 km) northwest of the geographic center of South Carolina, and is the primary city of the Midlands region of the state. It lies at the confluence of the Saluda River and the Broad River, which merge at Columbia to form the Congaree River. Columbia is home to the University of South Carolina, the state's flagship university and the largest in the state, and is also the site of Fort Jackson, the largest United States Army installation for Basic Combat Training. Columbia is also located 20 miles west of the site of McEntire Joint National Guard Base, which is operated by the U.S. Air Force and is used as a training base for the 169th Fighter Wing of The South Carolina Air National Guard. Columbia is also the location of the South Carolina State House, which is the center of government for the state. In 1860, the city was the location of the South Carolina Secession Convention, which marked the departure of the first state from the Union in the events leading up to the Civil War.
At the time of European encounter, the inhabitants of the area that became Columbia were a people called the Congaree. In May 1540, a Spanish expedition led by Hernando de Soto traversed what is now Columbia while moving northward. The expedition produced the earliest written historical records of the area, which was part of the regional Cofitachequi chiefdom.
From the creation of Columbia by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1786, the site of Columbia was important to the overall development of the state. The Congarees, a frontier fort on the west bank of the Congaree River, was the head of navigation in the Santee River system. A ferry was established by the colonial government in 1754 to connect the fort with the growing settlements on the higher ground on the east bank.
Choose the Best Dental Hygienist Program near Columbia SC
Enrolling in the right dental hygienist course is imperative if you wish to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are several alternatives offered to obtain your training and it takes a relatively short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require about 2 years of studies before they enter the job market. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by addressing the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the right selection. And as a result, you will be ready to start your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Columbia SC.
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A dental hygienist shortage has dentist offices struggling to schedule ...
Morrissey was a co-author of a study last year that estimated 8% of dental hygienists left the workforce in 2020. A year later, some had returned. But hygienist Sarah Crow, who's the president of the Massachusetts Dental Hygienist Association, says many of her older colleagues aren't coming back.