The job of a dental hygienist is financially rewarding and quite satiating. A dental hygienist is entrusted with the responsibility of attending to patients’ oral hygiene. The job usually entails conducting assessments of patient’s dental health and oral hygiene in particular, inspecting oral problems and conducting teeth cleanings. Dental hygienists may work in general dentistry or specialty dental practices. A dental hygienist can start his or her own practice or can work for a dentist, at a hospital or nursing home among other healthcare centers.
How To Become A Dental Hygienist
There are two things that you need to become a dental hygienist. You need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree and a license to operate in a specific state.
There are associate degree programs, bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. While you would get a job subsequent to your associate or bachelor degree and licensing, having a master degree will get you better jobs and a much higher pay. All fifty states in the country have licensing requirements. Hence subsequent to getting your degree, you would have to opt for the state specific license. Else, you would not qualify for a job. Other than the training on dental hygiene, a dental hygienist is also trained on billing software, dental charting and office management software, handling of x-ray machines, teeth dental lasers and scalers, teeth cleaning devices and probing equipment.
The associate degree programs are usually two year long and you can opt for vocational institutes, community colleges or dental schools. The better the school you sign up with, the higher are your chances of getting a good job placement. Classroom training and clinical experience are both part of the degree program. You would have to study oral pathology, radiology, pain management, dental materials, infection control, periodontics and pharmacology.
There is a licensing exam that you have to go through after you get your degree. The National Board Dental Hygiene Examination administered by the American Dental Association is what you have to sit for. Subsequent to that, there would be a regional or state specific clinical board examination.
How To Earn Over $70,000 A Year
You may not earn over $70,000 a year right after school but some experience and an advanced degree can easily get you to earn much more. CPR certifications, master’s degree in dental hygiene or exposure in research and teaching would increase your earning potential significantly.