A dentist’s job is to diagnose and treat dental problems in patients. The work of a dentist is quite different from that of a dental hygienist. A dental hygienist’s main job is providing preventive oral care services. He/she educates patients about the proper ways to floss or brush teeth. He/she can advise patients on the best products they should by to take care of their oral health. A dental hygienist can also help patients remove hard to clean gunk such as stains, tartar and plaque from their teeth and gums.
Becoming a dental hygienist
You need to go through a formal training program to be able to work as a dental hygienist in hospitals, private practice, schools, group specialty practice etc. The standard training for dental hygienist is an associate degree. After completing an associate degree, one is required to sit for a licensing exam before being allowed to practice. Typical course work for dental hygienists includes head and neck anatomy, dental radiology, microbiology, dental materials, or facial anatomy and periodontics. If you intend to work in teaching, research, public or clinical practice, you have to continue with your education to acquire a bachelors or master degree in dental hygiene.
Dental hygiene tuition fees vary from one level to another. The average tuition fee per annum for an associate degree is around $5 500. Dental hygiene tuition fees for bachelor’s degree is around $7 300. A master’s degree will cost our around $4 200. These estimates represent the average amount of money paid by student joining each of the levels. You can find a school charging $3 000 as tuition fee for an associate degree program. There are other schools which charge up to $8 000 as dental hygiene tuition fees for an associate degree program. A dental hygienist associate program lasts 3 years. Therefore, by the end of the 3 years, the total amount that you would be expected to pay as tuition fee will be $16 500($5 500 x 3).
Salaries for dental hygienists
Hygienists make very comfortable salaries considering that most professionals in this field work part time. The mean salary for hygienists is estimated to $70 200 per year. The least paid dental hygienists earn $46 500 per year while the top earners get about $96 300. This is a pretty attractive salary for someone who is not working full time. With this salary, it will definitely take you a very short time to complete your students’ loan repayment. For example, if your student loan was $20 000 and you are currently earning $50 000, you can pay it in 2 years or less while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle. Obviously, the length of time it will take to repay the students’ loner depends on how much you will be willing to pay per annum. The more you pay, the faster you will able to completely offset the loan.
As a dental hygienist, your earnings will be based on location, experience and education. It is one of the best career choices for anyone looking for a career that pays well. In addition, job prospects for hygienists are excellent. Thanks to the increasing demand for dental care, this profession is ranked among the fastest growing professions.