A Brief Guide to the Career of a Dental Hygienist
If you are looking for a high paying career with lots of demand, consider becoming a dental hygienist. It takes up to four years of training to become a hygienist, however the average entry level wage for such a professional is around $30 per hour.
If you choose to pursue continuing education or have more experience as a hygienist, your pay could be higher than this.
Dental hygienists work with patients and dentists. They take impressions of teeth for orthodontic devices, help fill cavities, scrape tartar and plaque, apply fluoride, clean teeth, assist in extractions and much more.
They may also monitor patients' vital signs during surgical procedures.
There is a high level of responsibility when it comes to being a dental hygienist but it is all worth it once you are working in the field.
If you are not up to four years of school, consider a career assisting dental professionals. Also called a dental assistant, this type of dental professional does many of the same tasks as a hygienist. As a dental assistant, you will help gather patient data, prepare rooms and equipment, and interact with the patients the office sees on a daily basis.
The average dental assistant goes to school for about two years, but sometimes it can be more or less depending on the school you choose.
There are different kinds of dental assistants. For example, there is the general dental assistant who performs a variety of different tasks. The Certified Dental Assistant is someone who has taken and passed the national exam given by the DANB or Dental Assisting National Board.
This is also the board that certifies dental assistants for jobs in special fields like orthopedics or pediatrics to name just two.
Once you've worked as a dental assistant, you may want to take the next step to becoming a dental hygienist. Your employer might provide tuition reimbursement, which helps you pay for your education in addition to loans and grants.
Many hygienist programs are held in the evenings, when working adults are able to attend. It may be a challenge to juggle home, work and school – but after all is said and done you will be proud of yourself and enjoying a larger salary as a hygienist.
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