It is exciting to be a dental hygienist in 2022! The dental hygienist profession is at the crossroads of a great time of change and opportunity. There are more career opportunities than ever before. Arm yourself with the most information you can to determine what career paths are available. You need to acquire a thorough understanding of the dental hygiene landscape to identify how to begin the first steps in the next phase of your career journey.
Most entry-level dental hygienist positions are defined by a clinical position exclusively. The next stage of your career path will require you to use your critical thinking skills. You must design your own career path by obtaining additional business skills, education, and knowledge of state health care. The dental hygienists of today have careers available in education, research, administration, public health, and advanced practice.
Let’s take a look at some of the most up-to-the-minute examples of the opportunities for a dental hygienist in these fields.
The primary place of employment for a dental hygienist continues to be the private dental office. Clinicians assess, diagnose, plan, implement, evaluate, and document dental treatments for the prevention, intervention, and control of oral diseases. They practice with other health professionals. Some examples of clinical settings include private dental practices, community clinics, hospitals, university dental clinics, prisons, nursing homes, and schools.
These dental hygienists are hired by companies that sell products or services for the oral health industry. New graduates in the field are often seeking to work in corporate dentistry due to the incredible benefits. Leaders in the dental industry offer to hire dental hygienists who have clinical experience and an understanding of the dental practice such as the following:
- sales representatives
- product researchers
- corporate educators
Government or nonprofit organizations are provided special funding through community health programs. In this way, those who would not otherwise have access to dental care are treated. Such public health opportunities offer several different roles and settings like clinicians, administrators and researchers, state public health officers, community clinic administrators, Indian health service, head start programs, local health departments, National Health Service Corps, school sealant programs, and rural or inner-city community clinics.
For those who are searching for a rewarding and challenging career at the same time, and a career that is neither dull nor redundant, this career path may be the right one for you.
There are two different types of research completed by dental hygienists. Quantitative research consists of conducting surveys and analyzing results. Qualitative research is testing new procedures, products, or theories for accuracy. Some types of research settings include colleges and universities, corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits.
To present your research or network with other oral health care practitioners, -responsibilities include such things as:
- designing and conducting clinical studies
- collecting data
- writing reports and papers for research journals
- attending professional conferences and events to present your research or network with other oral health care practitioners.
Strong analytical thinking skills are imperative to be a researcher.
Colleges and universities are in critical need of dental hygiene instructors to use educational theory and methodology to teach oral health care professionals. Educators who provide continuing education classes to licensed dental hygienists are employed by certain corporations. These educational positions may be part-time or full-time, such as clinical instructors, classroom instructors, program directors, and corporate educators. Dental hygienist educators are also dental educators who supervise students in a laboratory, clinical, or community setting. They are mentors and role models to students.
Administrative dental hygienists use their organizational skills to communicate objectives and identify and manage resources. They also evaluate and update health programs, education, and health care. Some types of administrative positions include Clinical Director of statewide school sealant program; Program Director of dental hygiene educational program; Dean of Health Sciences of educational institution; Executive Director of state association staff; and Director of corporate sales.
By using their imaginations and creativity to begin or finance new businesses, dental hygienists have turned into successful entrepreneurs in a wide variety of commercial endeavors. Opportunities for new business being developed have occurred in product development and sales, practice management companies, employment services, CE providers or meeting planners, consulting businesses, founders of nonprofits, independent clinical practices, and professional speakers and writers. Do not expect these opportunities to fall in your lap. Thinking like an entrepreneur also means you take the initiative and put in your own effort.
There has never before been a more opportune time for dental hygienists to use their education and experience to open doors for a variety of career choices. Basically, where you want to work is up to you. In order to gain helpful information and training in this area, check out the SPS Dental Academy. These professionals are committed to offering a quality learning opportunity that successfully meets the needs of the dental community as well as your individual personal needs. Request a consultation with them today.