If you are wondering how to become a dental hygienist, then you should know you’re picking a career that is experiencing a lot of growth at the moment and has a good base salary. In this field you will be working directly with patients and educating them on oral hygiene.
If you’re looking to become a dental hygienist you’ll have to be able to work well with others as you’ll often be working in close quarters with other people such as dentists and other assistants. Another key quality to have is manual dexterity. Obviously you will be working within people’s mouths, so good manual dexterity and precision is a must!
Each state has their own requirements that a dental hygienist has to follow and the amount of work they must preform on patients. Depending on where you practice you can expect to take care of patients’ charts, gather their dental history, take x-rays, examine teeth and remove hard and soft deposits.
In order to become a dental hygienist you must graduate high school, or at least obtain their GED successfully. When applying to a dental hygiene program a student will have to take placement classes to determine the appropriate level of class for them to start in at the dental hygiene schools available around the country.
You will need a 2 to 4 year degree and pass a number of written and clinical tests. Once you complete all these tests you will be given your dental hygienist license. Every state requires a person to pass these exams and be licensed before they can start their career.
The good news is that once you’re qualified you should have a fantastic chance of landing a job as growth is extremely high. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists will experience a growth of around 36%. When you compare this rate to the rest of jobs in the United States you’ll see that this is one of the fastest growing jobs in the country. The average rate of growth is around 7%.
You can find employment in hospitals, dental offices, and training schools that offer dental programs. Keep in mind that you will most likely also receive a large amount of on the job training because each employer will run their clinic in a unique way. The other thing to remember is that because you can only practice in the state you are licensed in, means that if you happen to get licensed in a state crowded with dental hygienists you may find more competition for jobs.
Becoming a dental hygienist can lead to a very promising and lucrative career. Not only can you make a very decent living, you will also most likely be offered medical benefits and a retirement fund. Jobs in the medical field usually offer these incentives and in some cases they will offer continued education at no cost or at times it will be partially paid for. A person can expect to make an annual salary of $55,00 to $82,000 a year depending on level of experience and area of work.
Career Overview Video
Check out this brief career overview video from a real dental hygienist.