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A Career in Dental Hygiene Rarely Requires a Degree

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With new healthcare laws, some people say that prospects are even getting better as low cost dental insurance plans may mean people going less for free dental care and opting for paid treatment. If you search the internet, the career of a Dental Hygienist will show up in the top ten jobs with highest demand through 2010 and beyond. However, if all that information brings a smile to your face, a little knowledge about the career might help you. This article deals with the career of a Dental Hygienist.

What is a Dental Hygienist?

A Dental Hygienist is a dental care professional who works as part of a team providing support to dentists. Dental Hygienists have some common responsibilities including:

  • Cleaning and polishing the teeth of patients using standard instruments like ultrasonic devices and polishers. Dental hygienists are the people in a dentist’s chamber who do the primary work like removing plaques and stains and superficial beautification
  • Applying sealants for closing cavities
  • Taking x-rays of teeth
  • Performing clinical diagnostic and pathological tests
  • Explaining oral hygiene to clients
  • Examining patients for primary diagnosis of gum or dental diseases
  • Maintaining the patient’s chart for diagnosis and treatment by the dentist
  • Carrying out the documentation needed in the dentist’s office

Professional qualifications required for the job of a Dental hygienist

Okay, a college degree may not be mandatory for the job of a Dental hygienist, but surely there are some specialized qualifications that help to get the job or build a solid career in the occupational field? That’s very true, and Dental hygienists usually enroll in a dental hygiene program after completing secondary education. Usually, the requirements of being able to enroll in a dental hygiene program are a high school diploma or equivalent and an entrance test. Dental hygiene programs usually offer associate degrees and are found in most community colleges, dental schools, or technical colleges and universities. Only dental hygiene programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation are of real value in building a career as a Dental hygienist.

All states have licensing requirements for Dental hygienists and most require the applicant to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, as also a clinical proficiency examination conducted by state or regional training agencies.

How’s the work?

Dental hygienists work in offices of dentists and in private as well as public healthcare units. The occupation has tolerance for a wide range of timings due to high demand of reliable workers, and it is common to find Dental hygienists working in full-time, part-time, or weekend jobs. Industry reports say that close to half of the people working as Dental hygienists are engaged in part-time work and mostly work in multiple chambers. Such opportunities, of course, increase job security as it is better not to have all the eggs in the same basket. Typically, as also according to research reports, Dental hygienists enjoy a high degree of flexibility and autonomy in their work environment, and flexible schedules makes this occupation attractive to many.

This article was originally published in EmploymentCrossing. EmploymentCrossing is a leading job reporting and research institution, consolidating jobs leads from all possible sources in the world. For more such informative articles, please visit EmploymentCrossing.
A Career in Dental Hygiene Rarely Requires a Degree by
Authored by: Harrison Barnes