How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist School near Fairfax South Carolina
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Fairfax SC is an important initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But before you can make your selection, you need to examine and compare your school options. There is far more to completing your due diligence than choosing the college with the least expensive tuition or enrolling in the program that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to take into account also, for instance the college’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 complete. Naturally with the prolonged training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these concerns and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are assessing later in this article. But first, let’s review the roles of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Role of Dental Hygienists
When contrasting the role of a dental assistant to that of a hygienist, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and assists the Fairfax SC practice and the dentists. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on a one-to-one basis. They are usually the initial person a patient interacts with when called from the waiting area. They examine each patient’s teeth and gums and report their findings to the dentists. They also may perform basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities may include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients regarding oral care
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Removing sutures and applying fillings
To qualify for licensing in nearly 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 licensure examinations. When they have fulfilled these requirements they are deemed fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the added responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Fairfax SC dental offices are usually 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 complete and must be accredited by the CDA in almost 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 component to the training as well| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Colleges
Selecting an online dental hygienist program may be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be 100% online, since there will be a clinical portion to your training. But the balance of your classes will be available via your desktop computer in the comfort of your Fairfax SC home or anywhere else on your laptop or tablet. For those continuing to work while going to college, online dental classes make education far more obtainable. Many may even offer lower tuition fees than their traditional competitors. And additional expenses such as for commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The clinical training can usually be completed at an area dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything necessary to get the proper education is furnished. If you have the discipline for this mode of education, you may find that enrolling in an dental hygienist online college is the right choice for you.
Topics to Ask Dental Hygienist Colleges
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Fairfax SC, you can start the process of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the opening of this article, a number of students begin by looking at the cost and the location of the colleges. Maybe they search for several online alternatives also. Even though these are significant initial factors to consider, there are a few additional questions that you need to ask of the programs you are comparing in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have supplied a list of questions to assist you with your due diligence and ultimate selection of the best dental hygienist program for you.
Is the Dental College Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only enroll in an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are going to become certified or licensed, then accreditation is a requirement in almost all states. To qualify to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps guarantee that the instruction you receive is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Fairfax SC employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And last, if you are applying for financial aid or a student loan, frequently they are not offered for non-accredited colleges.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary portion of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist schools have associations with local dental offices and clinics that furnish clinical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you select provides enough clinical hours but also provides them in the kind of practice that you subsequently want to work in. For example, if you are interested in a career in pediatric dentistry, verify that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Fairfax SC dental office that specializes in dental services for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Verify if the dental colleges you are looking at have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way 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 create working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Many graduating students of dental hygienist programs require help getting their first job. Ask if the schools you are researching have job placement programs, and what their job placement rates are. Colleges with high job placement rates probably have excellent reputations within the Fairfax SC dental profession in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can place their students for internships or employment.
Are Classrooms Smaller? Check with the programs you are reviewing how large on average their classrooms are. The smaller classes tend to provide a more personal environment for learning where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes can be impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If feasible, ask if you can monitor a couple of classes at the Fairfax SC dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the level of interaction between students and teachers before enrolling.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene training can vary in cost dependent on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for instance the reputations of the colleges and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with 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 programs, remember to add all of the expenses related to your education. The majority of colleges have financial aid offices, so make sure to ask what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Fairfax SC area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist school, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program provides classes that suit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Fairfax SC in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online college, you will still have to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up procedure is if you should have to miss any classes due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Fairfax SC?
Fairfax, South Carolina
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,206 people, 845 households, and 549 families residing in the town. The population density was 965.8 people per square mile (372.8/km²). There were 948 housing units at an average density of 285.6 per square mile (110.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 25.73% White, 73.46% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.34% of the population.
There were 845 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.1% were married couples living together, 29.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.0% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.13.
The town's population was spread out with 18.8% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 37.0% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 180.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 195.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $17,083, and the median income for a family was $26,097. Males had a median income of $26,759 versus $19,471 for females. The per capita income for the town was $8,940. About 26.4% of families and 37.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 49.8% of those under age 18 and 26.9% of those age 65 or over.
Pick the Best Dental Hygienist College near Fairfax SC
Selecting the right dental hygienist course is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene exam or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As we have covered, there are a number of options available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short amount of time to become a dental hygienist. You can acquire your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes and trade schools. Graduates of these schools generally earn an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists typically require about 2 years of studies prior to entering the work force. When pursuing a degree you can choose to go to classes online or on-campus. Whichever mode of training you elect to pursue, by asking the questions provided in this article you will be better prepared to make the ideal selection. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Fairfax SC.
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