What is a Dental Hygienist? Brief Overview:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, dental hygienists also help teach patients about proper oral hygiene and preventative care, as well as examining teeth and recording any abnormalities or areas of concern for the dentist to examine further and treat if necessary.
Degree Programs for Dental Hygienists:
According to the American Dental Hygienists' Association (ADHA), there are education programs offering associate's (86 credit hours) and bachelor's degrees (122 credit hours). Degree programs should be accredited by CODA (Commission on Dental Accreditation). Both types of programs prepare students for certification and a career as a dental hygienist.
For those professionals interested in teaching in dental hygiene programs, or for research or administrative roles, a master's degree is available in dental hygiene.
The average cost of an associate's degree is about $30,000, and about $45,000 for a bachelor's degree in dental hygiene, according to the ADHA.
Requirements for Admission into a Dental Hygienist Degree Program:
- High school diploma or GED
- Minimum high school grade average of C level, must include courses in math, biology, chemistry, and English
- 40 college hours of pre-requisite courses, typically including chemistry, psychology, English, speech
Work Environment and Schedule for Dental Hygienists:
The schedules can vary, but can range from part-time to full-time based on the needs of the employer and employee. The flexibility of scheduling is one of many draws for careers in dental hygiene. Additionally, hours are limited to standard dentist office hours, so dental hygienists do not have to work nights or weekends, like many other healthcare professionals often must.
Job Outlook for Dental Hygienists:
This percentage represents the addition of about 62,900 jobs from 2008-2018 for dental hygienists!
Salary for Dental Hygienists:
Benefits vary by employer, and usually are limited to dental hygienists who work full-time.