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Dental Hygienist Career Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it ranks among the fastest growing occupations. The demand for dental services will grow because of population growth, older people increasingly retaining more teeth, and a growing focus on preventative dental care. To meet this demand, facilities that provide dental care, particularly dentists’ offices, will increasingly employ dental hygienists to perform services that have been performed by dentists in the past.

Dental Hygienist Career Paths

A minimum of an associate degree  in dental hygiene is generally required for practice in a private dental office. A bachelor's or master's degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in public or school health programs.

Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventive dental care. They examine patients’ teeth and gums, recording the presence of diseases or abnormalities. Hygienists may prepare clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests for the dentist to interpret. Hygienists sometimes work chair side with the dentist during treatment.

Getting Licensed

Dental hygienists must be licensed by the state in which they practice. Nearly all states require candidates to graduate from an accredited dental hygiene school and pass both a written and clinical examination. The American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations administers the written examination, which is accepted by all states and the District of Columbia. State or regional testing agencies administer the clinical examination. In addition, most States require an examination on the legal aspects of dental hygiene practice. Alabama is the only state that allows candidates to take its examinations if they have been trained through a state-regulated on-the-job program in a dentist’s office.

Work Environment

Dental hygienists work in clean, well-lit dental offices. Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening, and weekend schedules are widely available. Dentists frequently hire hygienists to work only 2 or 3 days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more than one dental office. More than half of all dental hygienists worked part-time – less than 35 hours a week.

The information below reflects aggregated data from all of the Herzing University campuses that have students enrolled in the specified program in the specified time period. The information does not reflect data regarding individual campuses unless only one campus had students to report. The reporting period used to obtain this data was 7/1/2012-6/30/2013. If there were less than 10 graduates in a program, median loan debt and on-time completion data were not disclosed for that program to protect the privacy of those students. Tuition and length may vary by campus location. Ranges could not be input for tuition and length, therefore tuition and length reported are the highest tuition rates and longest program length to encompass all campuses. For information regarding specific campus tuition please refer to http://www.herzing.edu/tuition-financial-aid . For a more detailed description of how the data was calculated please refer to the Disclosure Methodology located here http://www.herzing.edu/files/2014Disclosures-Methodology.pdf .

Minneapolis

  • Dental hygiene graduates will be prepared to sit for the National Board Dental Hygiene Exam, Jurisprudence Exam, and the CRDTS Examination, which (upon successful completion) would provide the graduate the opportunity to become a Licensed Dental Hygienist (LDH).


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