If you are looking for the perfect job, you may want to consider becoming a dental hygienist, at least according to Careercast.com, and Forbes magazine. These two sources recently looked the top jobs in the nation that do not require a four-year degree, and dental hygiene jobs came up as number one. Though many dental hygienists do have a bachelor’s degree, it is not a requirement.
Dental hygiene jobs involve a high level of understanding about oral health, and these professionals must go through rigorous training before being certified by their state. Often times, dental hygiene programs require pre-requisite courses, an written entrance essay, and also extensive interviews before admitting a student. Once in the program, students have to study basic anatomy, oral anatomy, periodontology, pharmacology, and radiography, among several other disciplines.
After a dental hygienist graduates from the program, he or she must be state certified in order to practice, and this requires taking state and regional board exams. Only after receiving these accreditations can a graduate begin looking for employment.
Dental hygienists often work alongside dental implant dentists, orthodontists, and other oral health professionals, adding their expertise and understanding of what constitutes good oral health to these practices. They often offer preventative care to patients, and are the ones that clean your teeth when you go for a routine dentist appointment. In some cases, dental hygienists are licensed in anesthesia and radiography, and will assist dentists during oral surgeries. In addition, these professionals can instruct patients on best oral hygiene practices to reduce a patient’s chances of developing periodontal diseases.
You may also want to consider that this job pays fairly well. The average salary for a dental hygienist is roughly $70,000 per year, according the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The long-term outlook for this profession is also growing at a faster rate than any other job, with the BLS predicting a growth rate of 33% by 2020.
As long as the market for dentists continues to thrive, there will be a need for dental hygienists, so you do not necessarily have to be concerned about the job market. Becoming a dental hygienist could be the best way to serve the community around you, and make a decent living without having to spend years paying off school loans. Find out more here.