How to Select a Dental Hygienist Program near Edgefield South Carolina
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Edgefield SC is an essential initial step toward beginning your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your choice, you need to assess and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than picking the program with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your home. There are other important issues to take into account as well, such as 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 2 to 3 years to accomplish. Obviously with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will discuss all of these factors and supplemental questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist programs you are analyzing later in this article. But first, let’s look at the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Job of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is undoubtedly that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Edgefield SC dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are often the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s gums and teeth and present their findings to the dentists. They may also perform basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s duties can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Instructing patients about oral care
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing 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 licensure exams. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and may add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
As a result of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Edgefield SC dental practices are often required to have 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 nearly 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 clinical component to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Training Programs
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a great option for getting your education. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a practical component to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the convenience of your Edgefield SC home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those continuing to work while going to school, online dental classes make education a lot more accessible. Some may even offer lower tuition rates than their traditional counterparts. And supplementary expenses for items like books, school supplies and commuting may be reduced also. The practical training can often be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to receive the proper education is furnished. If you have the dedication for this style of education, you may find that attending an dental hygienist online program is the right choice for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Edgefield SC, you can begin the procedure of comparing programs and schools. As we covered at the start of this article, a number of prospective students start by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Possibly they search for several online options also. Although these may be significant initial considerations, there are a few additional questions that you should address to the programs you are looking at in order to make an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to help you with your due diligence and final selection of the right dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only select an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a condition in virtually all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental college 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. Edgefield SC employers often prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for a student loan or financial aid, usually they are not obtainable for non-accredited programs.
Is Enough Practical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a vital part of any dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Most dental hygienist colleges have associations with local dental practices and clinics that provide 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. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Edgefield SC dental practice that focuses on dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor internship programs. Internships are probably the most effective method to obtain hands-on, practical 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 create professional relationships in the Edgefield SC dentistry community. And they are attractive on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Most graduating students of dental hygienist programs need assistance landing their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Schools with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Edgefield SC dental community in addition to large networks of contacts where they can refer their students for employment or internships.
Are the Classes Small? Check with the programs you are interested in how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes usually offer a more intimate setting for learning where students have increased access to the instructors. On the other hand, larger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Edgefield SC dental hygienist college that you are most interested in so that you can experience first hand the level of interaction between instructors and students before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate 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 if they are public or private also come into play. But besides the tuition there are other substantial 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 schools, remember to add all of the expenses associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance departments, so be sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Edgefield SC area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you must confirm that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that accommodate your schedule. This is especially true if you continue working while receiving your education and must go to classes near Edgefield SC at nights or on weekends. And even if you enroll in an online program, you will still need to schedule your practical 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 emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Edgefield SC?
Edgefield, South Carolina
Edgefield is located slightly east of the center of Edgefield County at 33°47′N 81°56′W / 33.783°N 81.933°W / 33.783; -81.933 (33.7868, −81.9278).U.S. Route 25 passes through the southwest part of the town, bypassing the center, and leads north 33 miles (53 km) to Greenwood and south 26 miles (42 km) to Augusta, Georgia. South Carolina Highway 23 passes through the center of the town, leading east 26 miles (42 km) to Batesburg-Leesville and west 17 miles (27 km) to Modoc on U.S. Route 221 near the Savannah River.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Edgefield has a total area of 4.3 square miles (11.1 km2), of which 4.2 square miles (10.8 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km2), or 2.71%, is water.
The story of Edgefield is more than a quarter of a millennium long, reaching back to before the first European settlers arrived, when only Native Americans roamed the forests. At that time the area which later became Edgefield County was a vast wilderness of virgin forests, occasional prairies, great cane brakes and sparkling rivers and creeks. It was bisected by the fall line, with sandy soils on the southeast side of this line growing primarily pine trees, and rich clay soils on the northwest side growing primarily oak and hickory. Wildlife was abundant with deer and turkey, but also with elk, buffalo (bison), panther and bear.
The initial settlement of present-day Edgefield County occurred in the quarter century between 1750 and 1775. Some settlers came up from the South Carolina low country but more poured down "the Great Wagon Road" from the colonies to the north. In this colonial period the economy was primarily a subsistence one in which the settlers consumed what they raised. Initially there were no courts or law enforcement here, but beginning in the mid-1760s, the law-abiding settlers began their struggle to bring law, order and government to the "backcountry" of South Carolina.
Enroll in the Ideal Dental Hygienist College near Edgefield SC
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist program is essential if you intend to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if required in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to receive your education and it takes a relatively short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require roughly two years of studies before they enter the work force. When earning a degree you can choose to attend classes on-campus or online. Whichever mode of training you decide to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the appropriate selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Edgefield SC.
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