How to Become a Dental Hygienist

What To Do Now? Dental Hygienist Career Training

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Do you like helping people in a hands-on way? Are you looking for a way to retrain and enter the health field? Dental hygiene is an important part of overall health, and hygienists are the ones that make sure your mouth is in its best shape. Online dental hygienist training courses are a great way to improve your skills and retrain for this hands-on career.

About Career Skills for Dental Hygienists

You might be a good match for a career as a dental hygienist if you are good with your hands, enjoy helping people, and have an interest in oral care--making retraining a simple matter of improving your career skills. As a hygienist you would be responsible for working with patients to clean their teeth, assess the health of their gums, take x-rays, and more. Being a dental hygienist takes a certain amount of stamina (you'd be on your feet for most of the day) and manual dexterity. Hygienists are also the front-line people for identifying potential problems and pointing them out to dentists. Good hygienists are also educators who have the career skills to give advice about the best way to brush teeth and floss.

Hygienists work with dentists in settings like outpatient clinics and small practices. In this way, they are almost always part of a team, yet they also need to operate independently because they might have a full day's worth of patients. This career is one that is essential no matter the economy--people will always have teeth that need to be cleaned and assessed. The need for hygienists is expected to continue to be high well into the future.

Career Advice about the Dental Hygiene Field

Do you think this career might be one you would enjoy? Retraining into the career of dental hygiene will require you obtain an associate's degree or certificate, and additional college education, like a bachelor's degree, can also be helpful. You can improve your skills by taking classes such as chemistry, anatomy, dental hygiene, and dental materials. Online dental hygiene training courses offer a way to carry out your studies.

Career Outlook

  • What You Need: A degree from an accredited dental hygiene school and a state license gets you in the door--continuing education and experience move you up the ladder to higher positions and more responsibility
  • Where to Go: There are approximately 330 CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation) accredited dental hygiene programs in the United States.
  • Job Outlook, 2012-22: 33 Percent.
  • Trends to Drive Demand: A growing and aging population, an increasing public focus on dental hygiene, and a general maturity of dental technology all factor in the rise of openings for dental hygienists
  • Advanced Techniques: Dental hygienists are allowed to administer local and general anesthesia during procedures in some states--most are allowed to perform routine x-rays to help diagnose specific conditions
  • Varied Work Schedule: Dental hygienists have their option of work schedules--full or part-time, evenings or weekends
  • Median Salary: In May 2013, the Dental hygienists earned a median annular salary of $71,530 with top 10% making more than $96,690.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dental Hygienists
Bureau of Labor Statistics, Dental Hygienists, May 2013 Wages
CODA - Commission on Dental Accreditation