Post-Graduate & Degree Completion
RDH in Alternative Practice
Advantages of the Profession
The job market for dental hygienists is booming. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the occupation will grow 33.3 percent by 2022.
- Satisfaction of helping people
- Status of a healthcare professional
- Flexible work schedule – full or part-time
- Variety of settings – private office, institutions, research, education
- Direct patient care
- Good income potential
- Career potential and stability
Admission requirements and prerequisites vary among the dental hygiene programs. Most include prerequisites in sciences, nutrition, psychology, sociology, English, and speech. For specific program requirements and application process it is necessary to contact the particular dental hygiene school.
Clinical Duties and Responsibilities
Each state has its own regulations, but California allows hygienists to perform specific duties including the following;
- Patient screening, medical history, dental charting
- Examination of the head, neck and oral cavity for disease
- Exposing, developing and interpreting radiographs (x-rays)
- Application of fluoride and protective sealants
- Removal of calculus (tarter), stain and plaque from above and below the gumline
- Administer local anesthetics and nitrous oxide
- Provide nutritional counseling, and self-care programs to prevent disease.
Dental Hygiene Programs
Upon completion of the program required prerequisites and acceptance in the dental hygiene program, the curriculum is a minimum of two years full-time. The two year program offers a certificate, associate degree or a baccalaureate degree in dental hygiene.
Baccalaureate and Master’s level degree programs are also offered for hygienists who are interested in education, research, public health or administration at private and state colleges and universities.
Career Opportunities in Public Health
There are a number of career opportunities for a dental hygienist ranging from clinical practice in an innovative setting to coordinating a school sealant program to serving in the state legislature. Your dental hygiene education and experience can open many doors for career pathways in public health.