Dental hygienists have a wide range of career paths available to them, from traditional roles in a dental office or clinic to more unconventional paths in education, research, administration, public health, and corporate business. If you're a dental hygienist looking to advance professionally, it's important to have a plan. When deciding on a direction, you should consider if you want to take a traditional route, an unconventional route, or a combination of both. Dental hygienists are now leading initiatives, managing teams, directing programs, advising on policies, influencing legislation, and reducing the medical-dental divide.
You could be conducting research studies on periodontal disease for product manufacturers or writing for a major publication on dental hygiene. To practice as a dental hygienist, you need to have the appropriate credentials. Additionally, you should possess social skills such as attention to detail, good communication, great compassion, and problem-solving abilities. You may also need to be familiar with high-pressure water systems used to clean teeth.
The primary role of the dental hygienist is preventive care. However, you can also pursue degrees in complementary fields such as business administration, marketing and communication which could lead you down an unconventional path. An ADEA staff member and dental hygienist shares his experience in the field and highlights the many options available in the field of dental hygiene. One of the best ways to find non-clinical hygiene jobs is to establish contacts with people in the dental industry. From traditional roles to innovative job opportunities, today's dental hygienist has more options than ever when it comes to finding a satisfying career.
You can also stand out among other potential job candidates by adding more state approvals to your dental hygienist license. Alternatively, you can enter the dental profession as a dental hygienist through military training.