Advantages of Becoming a Dental Hygienist
Career Path : Dental Care
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists the median annual salary as $70,210 for a dental hygienist. The actual salary will depend on a number of factors including years of experience, location and any specializations within the field. All positions enjoy a competitive salary, especially considering that a two-year Associate’s degree can lead to licensing in the state you want to work in. Employee benefit packages will likely include health insurance, paid vacations, sick pay, professional affiliation fees and possibly even pay for advancing your degree into a specialized field. Those who are employed by public health centers and federal or state agencies may receive even better compensation for their contributions.
Flexible Work Schedules
Dental Hygienists have the advantage of different types of work scheduling including part-time, full-time or weekends. Some even work at more than one dentist’s office. They make work a couple of days at one office and other days, such as a Saturday at another. Although they may have to adjust your own personal schedule occasionally to meet the needs of a busy dental office, most of the time, the dental hygienist can pick hours that suit their own family or personal needs.
Well Respected Profession
Dentists and other professionals in the health field have great respect for the dental hygienist as a highly skilled professional. These professionals as well as the public realize the importance that healthy teeth and gums play to an individuals overall health. Dental hygienists teach the proper way to brush, provide routine cleanings, fluoride treatments and help spot gum disease early. They work in a friendly, people-oriented atmosphere.
As the population increases and as more people have access to health and dental insurance, there will be more and more of a demand for the services of a dental hygienist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, this career is one of the fastest growing occupations. Between 2012 and 2022, the job growth rate is expected to be 33 percent, much faster than average.
The minimum requirement to become a dental hygienist in a private office is either certification or an Associate’s degree. Training programs are organized in a way that allows students to complete them efficiently by using plenty of hands-on training. Once established with a good dental office, a hygienist can take classes to obtain a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree. Again, the flexible scheduling this career path affords can help to schedule around additional training opportunities. An advanced degree in this field can lead to jobs in specialized areas and research.
Visit the Canadian Academy of Dental Health for more information on how to become a dental hygienist.