Are you in the process of considering a career in healthcare? If so, then you might want to take into consideration the dental hygiene profession, which is crucial in helping the dentist provide care for patients’ teeth. Dental hygienists give advice on daily oral hygiene and care using stored knowledge and clinical skills. As a dental hygienist, one is expected to have the passion to help other people get over their pain and annoyances. Likewise, one should not mind having to use the hands a lot in order to complete tasks. Being in this field means a lot of opportunities for both men and women.
In the field of dentistry, dental hygienists play very important roles in the dental practice. Apart from their oral healthcare responsibilities to patients, they are also tasked to educate patients about correct dental hygiene practices dentist. Thus, the projected employment growth for dental hygienists is faster and higher than average from now until 2014. And due to the rising demand for dental care, including the employment of hygienists to do dental services that used to be dentists’ sole responsibilities, the field is now considered as one of the fastest growing professions in the world. Why is this so? This is primarily because of the boom in population as well as the newfound sense of keeping natural teeth healthy. In addition, as dentists take on more advanced technologies in dental care, more and more dental responsibilities are now being transitioned to dental hygienists – from preventive dental care to minor oral hygiene responsibilities, such as cleaning and teeth whitening.
Based on a report that the Commission on Dental Accreditation released in 2004, it shows that a little more than 250 programs were accredited in dental hygiene in that year alone. Typically, a diploma in high school and the results of your college entrance test scores are required to be admitted to the dental hygiene program. Combine this with a minimum of two years of college education plus hours of clinical assignments and you’re on your way to becoming a dental hygienist.
What other educational requirements would lead to a career in dental hygiene? Usually, dental hygiene programs offer an associate degree or certification to students, while some courses go as high level as a bachelor’s or master’s degree. If you see yourself working in a small, private practice, then an associate degree or certification in dental hygiene is enough to gain you employment in the field. However, if you see yourself getting involved in the field of research, academe, or public or private clinical practice, then it is important that you pursue a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree.
According to studies, in the previous year, there were about 160,000 jobs filled by dental hygienists alone. Though it looks like a huge number, the need for dental hygienists is still higher than the number of qualified applicants for job positions. Most of them preferred to work on part-time basis, that is, less than 35 hours weekly. In general, all of them work in a dental clinic, while only a small percentage of them work in other areas of dental healthcare. Finally, depending on one’s work experience in the dental field as well as the geographic location, the mid-hourly rate for dental hygienists is about $28.