How to Enroll In a Dental Hygienist Training Program near Hilton Head Island South Carolina
Choosing the ideal dental hygienist school near Hilton Head Island SC is an essential initial step toward starting your new career in dentistry. But prior to making your selection, you must evaluate and compare your school options. There is far more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is closest to your residence. There are other significant issues to consider as well, such as the program’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 complete. Naturally with the longer training of a hygienist comes more cost. We will cover all of these considerations and additional questions that you should be asking the dental hygienist colleges you are looking at later in this article. But first, let’s review the duties of dental hygienists and the training programs available.
The Duties of a Dental Hygienist
When comparing the duties of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the most significant difference is probably that the hygienist works more on their own. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Hilton Head Island SC dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also supporting the practice, deal with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the initial person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s teeth and gums and report their results to the dentists. They may also carry out basic procedures. Depending on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing stains, tartar and plaque
- Applying fluoride treatments
- Polishing teeth and applying sealants
- Teaching patients about oral hygiene
- Taking X-rays and developing film
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
In order to be licensed in nearly 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 Examination in addition to passing any state licensure examinations. Once they have fulfilled these requirements they are regarded as fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, standing for Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Education Options
Because of the increased responsibility in contrast to an assistant, dental hygienists working in Hilton Head Island SC dental practices are often required to have 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 virtually 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 clinical aspect to the training as well| A number of programs also sponsor internships with local dental practices or dentists.
Dental Hygienist Online Classes
Enrolling in an online dental hygienist school may be a viable alternative for receiving your education. Just remember that the program will not be totally online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be accessible by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Hilton Head Island SC home or elsewhere on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental programs make education a lot more obtainable. Some may even charge lower tuition fees than their traditional counterparts. And additional expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened also. The practical training can often be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the clinical and online training, everything needed to get the appropriate education is provided. If you have the dedication for this mode of education, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist college is the best option for you.
Issues to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Hilton Head Island 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. Perhaps they look for several online alternatives also. Even though these may be important initial considerations, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the colleges you are looking at in order to arrive at an informed decision. To start that process, we have provided 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 Program Accredited? There are a number of important reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist program. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a prerequisite in almost 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 establish that the education you receive is comprehensive and of the highest quality. Hilton Head Island SC employers often desire or require that new hires are graduates of accredited programs. And last, if you are requesting a student loan or financial aid, frequently they are not provided for non-accredited schools.
Is Plenty of Practical Training Provided? Practical or clinical training is an important part of every dental training program. This applies for the online school options also. Many dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only essential that the college you enroll in provides sufficient 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, confirm that the college you select offers clinical rotation in a local Hilton Head Island SC dental practice that specializes in dental services for children.
Are Internships Available? Verify if the dental colleges you are evaluating have an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the ideal way to obtain hands-on, clinical 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 look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist colleges require assistance obtaining their first job. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 Hilton Head Island SC dental community in addition to extensive networks of contacts where they can refer their students for internships or employment.
Are Classes Small? Ask the programs you are looking at how large typically their classes are. The smaller classes tend to offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, bigger classes tend to be impersonal and offer little one-on-one instruction. If feasible, ask if you can attend a couple of classes at the Hilton Head Island SC dental hygienist school that you are leaning toward so that you can experience first hand the amount of interaction between students and teachers before making a commitment.
What is the Total Expense of the Program? Dental hygiene programs can fluctuate in cost depending on the duration of the program and the amount of clinical training provided. Other factors, 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 significant expenses which can add up. They can include expenses for such things as textbooks and commuting as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when comparing the cost of schools, remember to include all of the costs related to your education. The majority of schools have financial assistance offices, so make sure to check out what is offered as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Hilton Head Island SC area.
Are the Classes Accessible? Before enrolling in a dental hygienist college, you need to verify that the hygienist or assistant program furnishes classes that fit your schedule. This is especially true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Hilton Head Island SC at nights or on weekends. And even if you select an online school, you will still be required to schedule your practical training classes. Also, while making your inquiries, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Hilton Head Island SC?
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Hilton Head Island, sometimes referred to as simply Hilton Head, is a Lowcountry resort town and barrier island in Beaufort County, South Carolina, United States. It is 20 miles (32 km) northeast of Savannah, Georgia, and 95 miles (153 km) southwest of Charleston. The island is named after Captain William Hilton, who in 1663 identified a headland near the entrance to Port Royal Sound, which mapmakers named "Hilton's Headland." The island features 12 miles (19 km) of beachfront on the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular vacation destination. In 2004, an estimated 2.25 million visitors pumped more than $1.5 billion into the local economy. The year-round population was 37,099 at the 2010 census, although during the peak of summer vacation season the population can swell to 150,000. Over the past decade, the island's population growth rate was 32%. Hilton Head Island is a primary city within the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 207,413 in 2015.
The island has a rich history that started with seasonal occupation by Native Americans thousands of years ago, and continued with European exploration and the Sea Island Cotton trade. It became an important base of operations for the Union blockade of the Southern ports during the Civil War. Once the island fell to Union troops, hundreds of ex-slaves flocked to Hilton Head, which is still home to many of whom are descendants of freed slaves known as the Gullah (or Geechee) who have managed to hold on to much of their ethnic and cultural identity.
The Town of Hilton Head Island incorporated as a municipality in 1983 and is well known for its eco-friendly development. The town's Natural Resources Division enforces the Land Management Ordinance which minimizes the impact of development and governs the style of buildings and how they are situated amongst existing trees. As a result, Hilton Head Island enjoys an unusual amount of tree cover relative to the amount of development. Approximately 70% of the island, including most of the tourist areas, is located inside gated communities. However, the town maintains several public beach access points, including one for the exclusive use of town residents, who have approved several multimillion-dollar land-buying bond referendums to control commercial growth.
Hilton Head Island offers an unusual number of cultural opportunities for a community its size, including plays at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, the 120-member full chorus of the Hilton Head Choral Society, the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, an annual outdoor, tented wine tasting event on the east coast, and several other annual community festivals. It also hosts the Heritage Golf Classic, a PGA Tour tournament played on the Harbour Town Golf Links in Sea Pines Resort.
Pick the Ideal Dental Hygienist School near Hilton Head Island SC
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is important if you want to take the National Board Dental Hygiene examination or, if mandated in your state, become licensed. As you now know, there are many alternatives available to obtain your training and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and technical institutes. Graduates of these programs generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists usually require about two years of studies before they enter the work force. When obtaining 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 choice. And as a result, you will be ready to begin your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Hilton Head Island SC.
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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.