How to Pick a Dental Hygienist College near Richmond Hill Georgia
Picking the right dental hygienist school near Richmond Hill GA is an essential first 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 much more to performing your due diligence than choosing the program with the most affordable tuition or enrolling in the school that is nearest to your residence. There are other important issues to consider also, for instance 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 two to three years to finish. Obviously with the longer training of a hygienist comes more expense. We will discuss all of these issues and additional 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 provided.
The Function of a Dental Hygienist
When contrasting the role of a dental hygienist to that of an assistant, the biggest difference is probably that the hygienist works more independently. Dental assistants work with and in support of the Richmond Hill GA dentists and the practice. Hygienists, while also assisting the practice, work with the patients more on an individual basis. They are typically the first person a patient sees when called from the waiting area. They examine every patient’s gums and teeth and report their findings to the dentists. They also may carry out basic procedures. Based on state law, a hygienist’s responsibilities can include:
- Removing tartar, stains and plaque
- Administering fluoride treatments
- Applying sealants and polishing teeth
- Instructing patients about oral hygiene
- Taking and developing X-rays
- Applying fillings and removing sutures
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 also must pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination as well as any state licensing examinations. When they have completed these requirements they are considered fully licensed and can add the “RDH” designation to their names, signifying Registered Dental Hygienist.
Dental Hygienist Training Options
Because of the additional responsibility as compared to an assistant, dental hygienists employed in Richmond Hill GA dental practices are usually required to have an Associate Degree in dental hygiene rather than a certificate. These programs can take 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 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| Some programs also sponsor internships with local dentists or dental practices.
Online Dental Hygienist Classes
Choosing an online dental hygienist program might be a good alternative for obtaining your training. Just remember that the program will not be completely online, since there will be a clinical component to your training. But the remainder of your classes will be provided by means of your desktop computer in the comfort of your Richmond Hill GA home or anywhere else on your tablet or laptop. For those working while attending school, online dental classes make education much more accessible. Some may even have lower tuition costs than their traditional counterparts. And added expenses for items like commuting, books and school supplies may be lessened as well. The practical training can usually be performed at a community dental practice or in an on-campus lab. With both the online and clinical training, everything required to obtain the proper education is provided. If you have the discipline for this method of learning, you may find that attending an online dental hygienist program is the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Dental Hygienist Programs
Now that you have decided to become a dental hygienist in Richmond Hill GA, you can begin the procedure of comparing schools and programs. As we discussed at the start of this article, a number of students start by checking out the location and the cost of the colleges. Maybe they look for several online options as well. Although these may be important initial points to consider, there are several additional questions that you should ask of the schools you are comparing in order to reach an informed decision. To start that process, we have included a list of questions to assist you with your evaluation and ultimate selection of the right dental hygienist school for you.
Is the Dental Program Accredited? There are many valid reasons why you should only pick an accredited dental hygienist college. If you are planning to become licensed or certified, then accreditation is a condition in almost all states. In order to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, your dental school must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CDA). Accreditation also helps ensure that the education you get is of the highest quality and comprehensive. Richmond Hill GA employers typically prefer or require that new hires are graduates of accredited schools. And finally, if you are requesting financial aid or a student loan, often they are not offered for non-accredited schools.
Is Enough Clinical Training Included? Clinical or practical training is a necessary part of every dental training program. This is true for the online school options also. A number of dental hygienist colleges have relationships with local dental practices and clinics that furnish practical training for their students. It’s not only imperative that the program you select offers adequate clinical hours but also provides them in the type of practice that you ultimately want to work in. For example, if you have an interest in a career in pediatric dentistry, make sure that the program you select offers clinical rotation in a local Richmond Hill GA dental practice that specializes in dental care for children.
Is There an Internship Program? Find out if the dental schools you are evaluating sponsor an internship program. Internships are undoubtedly the most effective means to obtain hands-on, clinical experience in a real dental practice. They help students to transition from the theoretical to the practical. They can also help students develop working relationships in the professional dental community. And they look good on resumes too.
Is Job Placement Support Furnished? Many students that have graduated from dental hygienist programs require help obtaining their first job. Check if the colleges you are considering 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 Richmond Hill GA dental community in addition to broad networks of contacts where they can place their students for employment or internships.
Are Classes Smaller? Ask the colleges you are evaluating how big on average their classes are. The smaller classes generally offer a more personal setting for training where students have greater access to the teachers. Conversely, larger classes often are impersonal and provide little individualized instruction. If practical, find out if you can sit in on a couple of classes at the Richmond Hill GA dental hygienist school that you are most interested in in order to witness first hand the amount of interaction between instructors and students before making a commitment.
What is the Overall Cost of the Program? Dental hygiene colleges can differ in cost based on the duration of the program and the volume of practical training provided. Other variables, for example the reputations of the schools and whether they are private or public also come into play. But along with the tuition there are other substantial expenses which can add up. They can include costs for such things as commuting and textbooks as well as school equipment, materials and supplies. So when analyzing the cost of programs, don’t forget to add all of the costs associated with your education. Most colleges have financial assistance offices, so be sure to find out what is available as far as grants, loans and scholarships in the Richmond Hill GA area.
Are the Classes Convenient? Before selecting a dental hygienist college, you need to make sure that the assistant or hygienist program offers classes that fit your schedule. This is particularly true if you will be working while getting your education and need to attend classes near Richmond Hill GA in the evenings or on weekends. And even if you select an online program, you will still have to schedule your clinical training classes. Also, while addressing your concerns, ask what the make-up policy is if you should need to miss any classes because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Attending Dental Hygienist School near Richmond Hill GA?
Richmond Hill, Georgia
Richmond Hill is a city in Bryan County, Georgia, United States. The population was 9,281 at the 2010 census, up from 6,959 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Savannah Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Richmond Hill is located along the eastern border of Bryan County at 31°56′17″N 81°18′49″W / 31.93806°N 81.31361°W / 31.93806; -81.31361 (31.938151, -81.313750). The Ogeechee River forms the eastern edge of the city (and the county line); an outlying portion of the city of Savannah is on the opposite side of the river.
U.S. Route 17 (Ocean Highway) passes through the city north of the original downtown. Interstate 95 passes through the western edge of the city, with access from Exit 87 (US 17) and Exit 90 (Georgia State Route 144/Ford Avenue). Downtown Savannah is 21 miles (34 km) to the north, and Brunswick is 58 miles (93 km) to the south.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Richmond Hill has a total area of 14.6 square miles (37.9 km2), of which 14.4 square miles (37.4 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 1.42%, is water.
Pick the Right Dental Hygienist School near Richmond Hill GA
Enrolling in the ideal dental hygienist program is essential 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 several options available to acquire your education and it takes a fairly short period of time to become a dental hygienist. You can obtain your formal training through dental programs at junior colleges, technical institutes, trade schools and vocational schools. Graduates of these schools generally obtain an Associate Degree. Dental Hygienists normally require approximately two years of studies prior to entering the job market. When pursuing a degree you can elect 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 right choice. And by doing so, you will be ready to commence your journey toward becoming a dental hygienist in Richmond Hill GA.
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