Careers in dentistry are thriving – specifically, dental hygiene careers. Dental hygienists are responsible for the preventive care of a client’s oral health. They assist in dental procedures, but also provide patient education on the benefits of oral health and how to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Some hygienists are also trained to use anesthesia during procedures and participate in restorative dental care.
The dental hygienist career is ranked #32 in the top 100 U.S. jobs, and for good reason. You may be asking yourself, “why now?” So, why is now the time to explore the dental hygiene career? Here are five reasons why 2021 and beyond is the time to begin your career as a dental hygienist.
A career in healthcare ensures job stability in our current economy and dental hygiene is no exception to that rule. In fact, dental hygiene career opportunities are expected to grow 11% within the next 10 years, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The demand for dental professionals is growing, partly due to the aging population, and the noted link between overall health and oral health.
As of 2020, there were over 200,000 jobs available, and likely more are available in 2021. It is projected that there will be approximately 15,600 additional job openings per year, due to various reasons like retirement, or people who are furthering their dental career. Thus, it is safe to say there will be no shortage of acceptable jobs for a dental hygienist.
If job stability is a plus for you, then you will also appreciate the competitive salary of a dental hygienist.
In 2020, the median yearly salary for a dental hygienist was just over $77,000. This is nearly twice as much as the average U.S. salary, according to the U.S. census bureau. While location will make a difference in pay scale, higher pay also comes with experience. Dental hygienists that work hard and commit to their career training and education have a higher chance of a higher salary. For example, a hygienist may be trained and specialize in restorative dentistry. Since this is a specialty, the salary is expected to be higher than the average.
Opportunities to Care for Patients
If you enjoy helping people, there are several opportunities to provide patient care in the field of dental hygiene. The traditional role is to provide oral health management to patients in an office setting. However, there are also roles in public health or educational settings, to provide services and education to the public. As a dental hygienist, you possess the knowledge needed to provide patients with preventive oral health education and promote general wellness. Use your knowledge to help your community make healthier choices.
Variety of Patient Care Opportunities
Dental hygienists have many options for performing patient care. They can work in a traditional dental office performing routine hygiene, or even explore the opportunity of restorative dentistry and work in a dental specialty. There are also career opportunities working with school systems and government entities.
Responsibilities as a hygienist within a school system may consist of performing regular oral health checks for children, supplying oral hygiene supplies or even applying fluoride treatments. Regardless of what you choose, no day will be the same and there are options to move around within your scope of dentistry. If you like a change of pace and excitement occasionally, you will enjoy being a dental hygienist.
It was mentioned previously the various settings in which a dental hygienist could work. Traditionally, a career in dental hygiene requires two years of study and an associate degree, plus the passing of a state board exam. There are opportunities to advance your studies to have a career in management, teaching, or dental research. Bachelor’s and master’s degree programs are available to help you achieve a goal of higher education. The possibilities are seemingly endless. What path most interests you?
Job flexibility is another perk of a career in dental hygiene. With the current high demand for dental professionals, dental hygienists many times have opportunities to set their own schedule. Maybe you prefer to work weekends or prefer four 10-hour days instead of five 8-hour days. Some hygienists work part-time in multiple offices. There are even opportunities to be a temporary employee and move around a little, allowing more time for family and travel.
To explore more opportunities as a temp hire, you can contact agencies like Strategic Dental Staffing Solutions. They can assist with helping you find your dream job easily, either temporary or permanent. Just submit your resume and requests. The SPS Dental Staffing team will help you find the perfect fit. Call or click today for more information.