Before you go down the rabbit hole of self-doubt, take a look at these pros of becoming a dental hygienist.
Dental hygienists have power over their schedules. Many dental hygienists work full-time at general dental practices or public health clinics, whereas others prefer more flexible work and practice part-time in different dental offices. Temping is also an option for those clinicians who prefer to feel out the office before committing to a position long-term. Unlike some corporate jobs where employees are stuck in the same cubicle with the same colleagues on a day-to-day basis, dental hygienists can shake up their “office” situation as much as they like.
You Can Change Up Your Workplace
As a dental hygienist, you are not confined to clinical practice. Marketing, teaching and academia, product sales, and corporate educator or corporate representative are only some career options. If clinical practice is what you enjoy the most, there are various practice settings you can explore. Community healthcare clinics, hospitals, mobile dental clinics, or public schools are some clinical practice settings that employ dental hygienists. Aside from the opportunities mentioned here, dental hygienists’ scope of practice is expanding in several states, opening doors to new and exciting practice settings.
Dental hygienists can pursue various degrees, licenses, and certificates throughout their careers. The American Dental Education Association offers a long list of colleges that offer graduate programs in dental hygiene and dental therapy for those pursuing bachelor’s or master’s degrees. The title of RDH can be one of many that follow your name—it all depends on you.
Dental hygienists are in demand in various states and practice settings. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual salary for dental hygienists was $77,090 in May 2020. Dental hygienists practicing in dental offices made a higher salary (mean annual wage of $77,330) compared to those practicing in physician offices ($75,590), and government facilities ($65,080). The demand for dental hygienists is expected to only increase over the next few years, and the bureau reports employment is projected to grow 6% percent from 2019 to 2029. Dental hygienists are encouraged to research job openings before moving to a new state, as salary and job availability for dental hygienists are dependent on location.