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Dental Hygienist Programs

Updated on March 8, 2012
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It is no secret that medical school and law school are tremendously difficult courses of study. Not only that, students in these programs must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on tuition while forgoing any income for 3 to 4 years. Although it is commonly believed that professions such as these are a ticket to a fulfilling, lucrative career, many aspiring students prefer a less rigorous academic program.

If you are in search of a career or part-time job which can afford a comfortable lifestyle without sacrificing ample free time for loved ones and personal pursuits, this hub will provide an objective look into the field of dental hygiene and describes the education necessary to become a licensed dental hygienist.

Certificate or Degree?

There are two distinct options when considering dental hygienist programs. One option is the certificate, which requires two to three years of study. The alternative is an Associate of Science in Dental Hygiene, a degree certified by the Commission on Dental Accreditation. For students who choose this option, a state license must be acquired prior to beginning work as a dental hygienist.

Once you are familiar with the two dental hygienist programs, it is important to know exactly what dental hygienists are and what they do on a daily basis. If you’ve ever observed your own personal hygienist, you may have noticed that they are responsible for a number of various duties.

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Dental Hygienist Tasks

In today’s era of dentistry, an increasing number of tasks are performed by dental hygienists, many of which could only be performed by dentists in years past. For example, in many parts of the country, dental hygienists may be responsible for administering anesthesia. Furthermore, some hygienists are now qualified to perform basic fillings. Still, the most common job performed by hygienists is the cleaning of teeth. You may have experienced the personal attention and comforting effects provided by hygienists, something which is also very important in the profession.

There are a number of courses which can be beneficial prior to starting dental hygienist programs, such as nutrition, oral biology, anatomy, and pharmacology. These days, dental hygienists have more on-the-job responsibilities than ever before. Furthermore, with more education comes more possibilities. With competitive wages and only two to three years of education required, this profession involves little risk with good reward. Many hygienists hold positions at more than one practice, further boosting their earning potential.

Dental Hygienist - a great job

Dental Hygienist Salary

A dental hygienist's salary differs from state to state and the manner of payment may be either hourly or daily. The number of years that a dental hygienists has been in the job will also determine the salary range that he receives. Some hygienists receive a fixed monthly salary while others, usually those who only work part time, receive commissions only.

Average annual salary for dental hygienists could range from $45,000-$95,000. Most of them work in a private dentist's clinic, but there are also others who are into research or are working in public health offices as trainors.

The number of years of work experience also determines the range of pay that dental hygienists receive. One who has been in the business for less than 2 years can earn a minimum of $45,000 annually or roughly about $21 per hour within a 40-hour work week. Someone who has been in the business for almost 7 years could make about $60,000 per year or about $29 per hour. If a hygienists has been in the profession for more than 10 years, he could make as much as $100,000 annually or about $48 per hour for a full 40-hour week.

The educational level of a dental hygienist is also a factor that can affect the salary range. A certificate-holder will normally receive less than someone who has an Associates, Bachelors or a Master degree in dental hygiene. Entry-level positions that only require a certificate of training usually pay less than jobs that require a college degree.

Where a hygienist practices his profession is another factor for determining salary. In states such as California, Nevada, Washington and Alaska, dental hygienists receive the highest pays, compared with those who work in other states. A hygienist who works in a private dentist's office usually gets paid more than those who work inside a public health facility. The location of the dental office could also be a factor. If the clinic is located in a big city where the market for patients is bigger, the dental hygienist's salary would also be higher.

Most dental hygienists also enjoy several benefits such as health and dental insurance for him and his family, performance-based bonuses, paid leaves and vacations. There are more perks offered to dental hygienists in areas where the demand for them is higher.

Considering all these factors plus the fact that the demand for hygienists is predicted to increase through the years, there is no doubt that a dental hygienist's salary and benefits will also continue to grow. Thus, this could be a good career to go into if you are thinking of a job that could give you future financial stability.

Hopefully this information has shown how attractive dental hygienist programs can be. Most importantly, hygienists will be in high demand for quite some time, and the career is relatively stress-free while providing competitive pay and excellent benefits. All things considered, a career as a dental hygienist offers many rewards with relatively simple and affordable education.

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    • rojeskerala profile image

      Rojes 5 years ago from Bangalore

      Thank yOu for this interesting article......

    • profile image

      schnauzerzone 5 years ago

      You are welcome, thanks for stopping by!

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