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Christian Turner
Christian Turner

Steps To Becoming A Dental Hygienist

To perform these tasks, dental hygienists use several types of equipment, including hand, power, and ultrasonic tools, according to the BLS. They also use X-ray machines to scan patients for tooth and jaw problems.

steps to becoming a dental hygienist

Working as a dental hygienist lets you earn good dental hygienist pay with stable hours in a comfortable work environment. There are ample job opportunities in this growing field to help you land a position. This job also provides flexibility, as many dental hygienists have the option of working part-time.

There are many benefits to becoming a dental hygienist. Some of the perks can include a comfortable salary and sufficient job opportunities. According to the BLS, the job outlook for a dental hygienist is bright.2 Other advantages can include interacting with patients and getting a feeling of satisfaction from helping people.3 Dental hygiene jobs can also offer diversity as you can work with numerous types of people each day, from children to adults to elderly patients.4

Dental hygienists can work in several different types of environments, including dental offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and other medical facilities. By far, the most common workplace is a dental office. According to the BLS, 94% of dental hygiene jobs are in dental offices.8

Dental hygienists can work with patients of all ages, from kids to adults to seniors. You can also choose to focus on one age group by pursuing a job at a specialized facility. While some general dental practices work with patients of all ages, there are pediatric clinics that only work with children. If you only want to work with elderly patients, you can also pursue a career at a nursing home or a senior facility.

According to the BLS, it can take up to 3 years to complete a dental hygienist program.14 This provides ample time to learn the required skills, get familiar with the anatomy of the teeth and gums, learn medical ethics, study periodontics, get hands-on experience and prepare for the license exams.

Looking for a healthcare profession with high earning potential that allows you to help people? Dental hygiene may be the career for you. Not only do dental hygienists perform rewarding work, but they also have plenty of opportunities and a strong potential for career growth. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that profession will grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than the average 5% for all professions.

Often the first professional that patients encounter when they visit the dentists, dental hygienists work with licensed dentists to inspect and clean teeth and gums, advise patients on preventative oral care, take x-rays, obtain medical histories related to the mouth, and apply basic treatments. They also assist dentists during some oral care procedures.

The dental hygienist profession is not only on the rise, but it offers a career path for individuals who want to enter the dental career field. Those interested in this profession need to meet certain requirements that not only qualify them for the position but also educate them on oral health overall.

Dental hygienists require an associate degree in dental hygiene and state licensure. Those who want to advance in their career should consider a bachelor's or master's degree in dental hygiene. These advanced degrees can help dental hygienists obtain positions extending outside of the dental office, such as those in teaching and research.

An appropriate dental hygiene program can prepare prospective dental hygienist candidates for their daily duties. Prospective dental hygienists must select an accredited dental hygienist school and consider several factors before narrowing down their school choice. When choosing a dental hygienist program, consider the following qualities:

Dental hygienists need to enroll in and complete an accredited dental hygienist program. An accredited program refers to a program that's been officially recognized or authorized. CODA is the only agency that the U.S. Department of Education has approved to accredit dental hygienist (DH) programs.

The length of a dental hygienist program depends on the type of institution and the degree itself. For example, Concorde offers a DH program that takes less than two years to complete while a bachelor's degree in this same field takes less than four years.

The length of a bachelor's degree program depends on the type of institution. If candidates enter the program with an associate degree, the general time frame can be shortened. This program type focuses on more in-depth topics than a two-year program. It's designed for dental hygienists who want to study specialized care. Some four-year program topics can include dental health theory and research or dental conditions. These programs may also educate students in the liberal arts and require supervised clinical experience.

Master's degree programs are for dental hygienists who want to conduct research, teach, and work in an administrative capacity. These programs typically last one to two years. Students must complete a capstone project to receive their degree.

State licensure requirements for dental hygienists vary by state, although these requirements have a common goal for the licensure process. Each state's licensure process ensures that dentists meet professional standards and maintain patient safety.

While dental hygienists must complete their education to work in this profession, they also need to secure a job in their field. Dental hygienists should have a strong set of qualifications that sets them apart from other job candidates. Some important skills to include on a dental hygienist resume include dentistry expertise, patience, communication skills, interpersonal skills, attention to detail, and dexterity. Individuals should also have relevant work experience, including on-the-job training, supervised clinical experience, and entry-level job experience.

This profession is experiencing rapid job growth according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (1) and its job outlook analysis. Job prospects will vary by a dental hygienist's location.

Becoming a dental hygienist can be a fulfilling career option for those with a passion for the job or those who want to enter the dental field with minimal education. To obtain a job in this profession, meet the necessary educational and licensure requirements so that you can begin helping patients of all ages.

Whether teaching a kindergartner how long they should brush their teeth or helping a senior citizen properly care for their dentures, dental hygienists work directly with many patients to provide basic oral health care and instruct them on how to keep their smiles white and healthy.

If you're thinking about pursuing dental hygiene as a career, the following guide can help you decide if it's right for you. Below, we'll delve into the educational and licensing requirements for dental hygienists, while also highlighting numerous career paths within this occupation..

In general, dental hygienists enjoy rewarding careers and have the satisfaction of helping patients achieve better oral health every day. If you choose to pursue this profession, you'll likely enjoy a good work-life balance, as most dental offices maintain normal working hours. Still, the financial rewards of this career are also important, especially if you aspire to make a certain annual income.

While newly minted dental hygienists typically bring home $54,200, those in the top tenth percentile of the field can expect their incomes to be around $104,420, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median average currently sits at $77,090. Factors other than experience can cause this number to fluctuate, too. Take a look at the state-by-state guide below to see the variances across America.

Roles for dental hygienists in the U.S. are set to grow by 6 percent between 2019 and 2029, with 13,000 positions being added during this time. While this national average provides an idea of how the field is progressing, these numbers may be higher or lower in different states. Compare job outlook projections and the number of projected annual job openings with our job growth tool.

What does a typical day look like for a dental hygienist? First, you'll greet patients once they're called from the waiting room, examining their teeth and gums before reporting back to dentists about their oral health. While with the patient, you'll also perform basic dental procedures, including removing tartar, plaque and everyday stains; using fluoride treatments to protect teeth; applying sealants; and flossing extensively. As mentioned, you might also be in charge of teaching your patients about proper oral care, including brushing techniques and the importance of flossing. Depending on the reason a patient is visiting, you may also take x-rays or molds to help the dentist assess the best plan of care, which could be anything from braces to root canals.

Dental hygienist programs are available in numerous educational settings, ranging from community colleges to specialized dental schools. Each of these options provides unique learning opportunities, and it's a good idea to review your options and dental hygienist class requirements before committing to a specific program. The following section reviews the most common choices available, including:

The average amount of time to complete a dental hygienist program is three years, but some vocational and trade schools allow you to enter the working world in as few as 17 months. These accelerated programs are heavily career-driven, providing real-world training and skills that translate directly to everyday work.

If you enroll in a community college dental hygienist program, you will receive an education rooted in comprehensive patient care, community health, and lifelong oral health. Without additional general education courses, you will focus solely on topics directly related to your future career and prepare to undertake licensure requirements upon graduation. 041b061a72


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