Develop a Dental Hygienist Career

in Dental

The dental hygiene profession is one of the fastest growing professions in the country, according to the Department of Labor.  There will be a 30% increase in the number of licensed hygienists over the next decade.  It's also a highly competitive academic field, with many schools turning away applicants after enrollment has filled.  It's a rewarding profession that does not necessarily require lengthy educational preparation. There are, however, some hurdles to cross.

  • Entrants for dental hygiene school must have a high school diploma or GED and have studied English, biology, chemistry and math.  Three quarters of all dental hygiene schools look at either a student's science GPA or overall GPA as part of the admissions assessment.
  • Dental hygienists have the option of pursing certification, an associate's degree or a bachelor's degree in the field.  Any of these are acceptable for entry level positions in most dental offices, where virtually all hygienists work.  Acceptance is highly competitive; in 2006 the schools offering associate's degrees accepted 25% of applicants while the schools with bachelor's degree programs admitted just 33% of all applicants.  Over ninety five percent of all applicants and practitioners are female.
  • Private and distance learning schools are offering accredited dental hygiene degrees, although the majority of the associate's degree programs are found in community colleges. According to the American Dental Hygienists Association 36% of the accredited dental hygiene schools allow for at least some distance learning.
  • Dental hygienists are licensed by the state in which they practice.  Generally licensure requires the completion of a degree or certificate program at an accredited school, and passage of both a written and clinical exam. 
  • According to the Department of Labor there are 167,000 hygienists currently practicing n the US, but that figure is deceptive because so many hygienists work in more than one office.  A significant number of hygienists contract with dentist's offices on a part time basis and work in more than one location in order to maintain a full work schedule.  To a significant degree, hygienists in this position are functioning as self employed professionals.
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Bob Hartzell has 1 articles online

Bob Hartzell writes on careers for GetDegrees.com. On the website you'll find comprehensive resources on dental hygiene degrees as well as information on educational opportunities for hundreds of other professions.

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Develop a Dental Hygienist Career

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This article was published on 2010/03/28