Becoming a Dental Hygienist – the Job Duties, the Educational Requirements and the Income You Can Expect to Earn
If you have ever considered becoming a dental hygienist now is probably the perfect time to start pursuing that career path. The need for dental hygienists is expected to increase over the next several years and of course that means job security. It is also a position that pays pretty well and you could earn a very good living working in this field. On this page I want to offer my readers a brief description of the job duties you will be expected to perform and also talk a little bit about how much money you might expect to make and what kind of educational requirements there are to become a dental hygienist.
The job duties of a dental hygienist
As a dental hygienist you will be working directly with patients and helping people every day. Your job will consist of cleaning patient’s teeth by removing plaque and tartar and also applying things like fluoride and sealants as a preventive measure to protect against tooth decay. You may also have to do things like taking x-rays, preparing restorative materials and dental cements, and administering dental anesthetics.
As a dental hygienist there is also a social aspect to your job because you will be talking to your patients so it is important to be friendly and be able to communicate with people effectively. Part of your job will include counseling patients on how to properly brush and floss as preventive measures to protect against tooth decay and you may even counsel them on good nutrition and talk to them about how nutrition can impact oral health.
How much money can a dental hygienist earn?
On the website salary.com they state that the typical salary for a dental hygienist in the United States is $62,394 annually. They collect data by surveying thousands of human resources departments at employers across the country and then report their findings. If you’re just getting out of school and you don’t have any experience in this field your earnings will probably be less than the average but like with any other job as you gain more experience your income will increase.
In addition to a very respectable annual salary many employers will also offer attractive benefits packages. A lot of employers will provide healthcare benefits, paid holidays, paid personal and vacation time, a 401(k) savings plan and a lot of employers will also pay for additional training and continued education.
What are the requirements to become a dental hygienist?
You will need to have an Associates degree or complete a certification course from a trade or technical school. Some people even go on to earn a Bachelors or a Masters degree in dental hygiene and of course with more education your chances of landing a job will increase dramatically and the amount of money you can expect to make will go up as well.
In addition to earning your degree or certification you will have to be licensed in the state in which you work. Some states also have additional certifications that may be required so you will have to see what the specific requirements are in your area.