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Dental hygienist schools

Which types of jobs are available for those interested in a dental hygienist career

You probably know your dental hygienist better than you know your dentist. Your dental hygienist is likely to spend more time with you than your dentist, cleaning away soft and hard deposits from your teeth and giving you tips for improving your teeth-cleaning methods.

A dental hygienist's job is to spot potential problems in your mouth and prevent them from getting worse. They use hand, rotary and ultrasonic tools to clean away tartar, stains and plaque and otherwise clean and polish your teeth. They also examine your gums and take X-rays to spot cavities that need to be filled by your dentist.

Dental hygiene careers require dental hygiene degrees from an accredited school and a state license. Dental hygiene jobs and duties vary by state. In some states, for instance, hygienists can administer anesthetics or place filling materials. Other states only allow dentists to do that.

A dental hygienist's job also may vary from day to day. Most of their time is spent with patients, cleaning their teeth and evaluating their overall oral health. They take time with each patient to explain specific problems related to their teeth and methods for avoiding those problems. When the dentist is filling cavities or performing some other dental procedure, dental hygienists often assist.

Many dental hygiene jobs allow a flexible schedule. Part-time, weekend and evening hours are common, and many hygienists work for more than one dentist. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), about half of all dental hygienists work fewer than 35 hours a week.

Most people with dental hygiene degrees and jobs enjoy working with patients. But one challenge of the job is helping patients overcome fear they may have of receiving dental care. Although teeth cleaning is rarely painful, some patients can be anxious during the process, and it's the hygienist's job to help them relax.

Formal training required to work in a career related to becoming a dental hygienist

In order to get into dental hygienist degree programs, you need a high school diploma and you need to take college entrance exams. Some hygiene schools demand at least one year of college. It's important while in high school to take classes in biology, chemistry and math.

Dental hygienist degree programs typically offer an associate degree, although some offer bachelor's and master's degrees. You need the associate degree to get a job in a dentist's office; advanced degrees are for those who want to go into teaching or research. According to the BLS, hygienists with experience and advanced degrees can also find work in public health and corporations.

You take a wide variety of classes to earn that associate degree, studying anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, radiography and many other science and medical subjects. Once you have your degree, you need to pass a written and clinical exam in order to get your state license. Most states also require that you pass a test on the legal issues surrounding the profession.

The typical career path of someone interested in becoming a dental hygienist

Anyone thinking of getting a degree in dental hygiene should enjoy working closely with people and have a knack for putting people at ease. The job requires very close and invasive contact with people who are sometimes very nervous. You also have to be able to work cordially with other hygienists and dentists in your office.

Job outlook and salary information for those interested in a dental hygienist career

Dental hygienists are expected to remain in high demand for years to come. Competition will be strong in some parts of the country, but overall, job prospects for dental hygienists are good, according to the BLS. Employment for dental hygienists is expected to grow 36 percent form 2008-2018, making it among the fastest-growing occupations in the country.

Improved dental care in recent years has led to older people keeping their teeth longer, creating a demand for hygienists to clean them. Another factor influencing the demand--older dentists, who typically perform teeth cleaning themselves, are leaving the profession. More recently trained dentists are more likely to hire a dental hygienist.

Earnings vary, but dental hygienists typically earn a good salary. According to the Department of Labor, the median annual wage in 2009 for dental hygienists was $67,470, and median salaries in some states approached $90,000 a year.

Which types of jobs are available for those interested in a dental hygienist career

You probably know your dental hygienist better than you know your dentist. Your dental hygienist is likely to spend more time with you than your dentist, cleaning away soft and hard deposits from your teeth and giving you tips for improving your teeth-cleaning methods.

A dental hygienist's job is to spot potential problems in your mouth and prevent them from getting worse. They use hand, rotary and ultrasonic tools to clean away tartar, stains and plaque and otherwise clean and polish your teeth. They also examine your gums and take X-rays to spot cavities that need to be filled by your dentist.

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Carrington College California offers the programs you need to begin a career in healthcare. Choose from Healthcare, Massage Therapy, Dental Assisting, Pharmacy Technology, or Veterinary Services.
  • A private career college with regional accreditation, providing students with transferrable credits. 
  • Offers career-focused programs in healthcare, business, legal, and technology.
  • Students can complete an associate degree or diploma in 12-24 months and a certification in 6-12 months.
  • Provides a personalized student plan from orientation to graduation.
  • There are 100 campuses in the Everest Career Education Network, many of which are on or near public transportation routes.
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  • Classes are built around small teams, so students get personal, one-on-one skills training.
  • Day, evening, and weekend  classes are available, depending on location.

Explore a new career with Pima Medical Institute. We offer a number of certificate, associate, and bachelor's degree programs in the medical, allied health, dentistry, nursing, mortuary science, veterinary, and massage therapy fields.

Successful careers begin at the Milan Institute. We offer quality hands-on training, experienced faculty and a staff committed to helping you realize your goals.
Get the hands-on training you need to enter the exciting health care or criminal justice fields at Anthem College. Learn from our outstanding professional faculty in a hands-on, real-world environment. We offer financial aid for those who qualify, outstanding student services, placement assistance for graduates, and more.
  • Dedicated to helping students learn and move forward in life with career training since 1975.
  • Offering programs in business, computer technology, healthcare, and more.
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  • Campuses all over California from Santa Cruz to San Marcos, plus campuses in Florida and Georgia as well. 
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