Throughout my four years of high school, I have changed my mind several times on what I wanted to pursue as my career after graduation. As a senior, I have realized that all along, the dentistry field has been one of my many interests. Unlike many children, growing up as a child I have always enjoyed going to the dentist office for my teeth cleanings. Now that I am 17 and graduating in the next five months, I have decided that the Human and Health Services field, Dental Hygiene in particular, is the career pathway that I am most interested in and would like to pursue further after graduation.
In pursuing this occupation, I understand that there are many personality traits that I must present. Since Dental Hygienists are around people each day at work, a hygienist must be outgoing, ambitious, and willing to interact with several different types of people. One must also get along with his or her co-workers, be a hard worker, and be willing to adapt to change that may occur in their workplace; these would be considered as required personality traits to excel in this occupation.
As a Dental Hygienist, you are considered to be a specially trained health care professional who help to maintain the dental health of patients and also prevent oral health problems that may occur due to poor oral hygiene habits and techniques (Dental Hygienist). Dental Hygienists see their patients for their routine appointments every six months where they receive a teeth exam and cleaning. As Dental Hygienists, many different tasks are to be performed daily.
Hygienists must be willing to administer anesthesia to their patient, give patients their annual teeth cleanings, and also assist dentists while performing fillings, teeth bleaching, sealant, and root canals by making sure the patient is as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Some benefits of becoming a Dental Hygienist are the flexible schedules that are given to those who work part-time. About 50% of hygienists work part-time in dental offices (Health Careers).
However, some full-time hygienists work seven to eight hours a day, five days a week. In most cases, Dental Hygienists work in dental offices, however, some may also find job opportunities in hospitals, retirement homes, research labs, Armed Forces, Pharmaceutical and Dental Supply companies, and also at a Dental Hygiene Schools. Physical labor is not a necessity in this career pathway. The most physical labor done by a Dental Hygienist would be picking up trays filled with instruments used while cleaning patient’s teeth.
Although most hygienists spend the majority of their day with patients doing cleanings, they do spend a lot of time on their feet which may cause back or neck problems in the future because of the repetitive behavior. Becoming a Dental Hygienist requires an Associate’s degree along with graduating from an accredited program, which means passing a licensed state test consisting of both clinicals and a written portion. Although an Associate’s degree is needed to obtain a job in a dental office as a Dental Hygienist, achieving a Bachelor’s degree is much more beneficial when trying to find a job after graduation from college.
Some of the most prestigious schools in our area that are well known for this career pathway would be the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor and Delta College which is located in University Center, Michigan (Tellefsen, Robyn). West Coast University and Argosy University are some of the best colleges in the nation known for pursuing a career in dentistry (Dental Hygienist Schools). After graduating with a Bachelor’s degree and passing a state test, finding a job as a Dental Hygienist should not be a problem because this occupation is currently ranked as one of the fastest growing pathways (Dental Hygienist).
By 2018, the job availability of this occupation is expected to be increased by at least 36% and the employment rate from 2008-2018 will be increased by at least 62,900 available positions (Dental Hygienist). The downfall that some may gather is that after graduation, and receiving the certificate of graduation from an accredited program, you must find a job in the state in which you passed the clinical and written exam. You are unable to work in a different state unless you pass the accredited program’s test in the state you choose to work.
Some may view this as a downfall only when job searching and not being able to find a job in the state that you want to live in. The earning potential of Dental Hygienists in Michigan is also one of the benefits this career has to offer. Because of the short amount of schooling that is needed to pursue this career, the yearly potential earnings are adequate. Starting at the entry wage, the annual income of a Dental Hygienist is expected to be $53,270 but can rise to $93,000 as you become more experienced in this occupation. Along with your earnings annually,
Dental Hygienists receive health care benefits such as preventative dental care. Depending on the dental office, paid vacations, dental and health insurance, and bonuses for exceeding goals are also given as benefits (Dental Hygiene Schools in the U. S. ). In society today, our economy is going through a downfall; the benefits that this job offers are very beneficial. As a Dental Hygienist develops more advanced qualifications, some have the option to go into teaching and research depending on what their employer wants from them.
With this, they can make much more than the average hygienists. Promotional opportunities are limited in this occupation because there is only one level higher than hygienists themselves. This career pathway consists of three levels. The entry level is a Dental Assistant which only requires training. The median level is to become a Dental Hygienist, which takes a minimum of an Associate’s degree. The final level would consist of the highest paying job as a Dentist.
There are many different career pathways that are similar to the occupation of a Dental Hygienist. Related careers to a hygienist would be a Cardiovascular Technician, Dental Assistant, Dental Lab Technician, Dentist, Diagnostic Medical Sonographer, and a Medical Imaging Technician. All of these occupations deal with the medical field, and help care for those in need. If I were to have to choose one of these occupations instead of Dental Hygienists, I would choose to pursue a career as a Dentist only because the pay is better than that of a hygienist.
The stress of a Dentist would be much higher than that of a hygienist because of the workload and demand of that is needed in the dental office. Throughout research, interviews, and experiences I have decided that going into Dental Hygiene is something I want to do. I have the skills and characteristics needed to succeed in this field, and with time I plan to achieve this goal. Not only is a job in this field beneficial, but it is also enjoyable to have to go to work for every day. Overall, there are many more benefits of this occupation than there are negatives.