The healthcare industry is flourishing. In fact, healthcare workers are in higher demand than ever before. The global pandemic has made many Americans – and people around the world – appreciate the importance of our healthcare heroes. Frontline workers have put their lives on the line to treat their patients. If you are considering a career in healthcare, but you would like a job outside of the hospital, that offers a good work-life balance as well as direct patient care, you may want to consider the dental hygiene field.
Dental hygienists play an important role in preventive healthcare. They examine patients for oral disease, teach patients about proper oral care, and clean teeth to help patients maintain good oral health. Many people leave the dental office feeling refreshed from their cleanings with the dental hygienist. You can learn more about the role here.
Before diving into the field of dental hygiene, you may be wondering the top reasons to get into this field. Why study dental hygiene today? Read on, as we share the advantages of this growing field, and what you can expect from this role.
Top 5 Reasons to Study Dental Hygiene
- A Bright Outlook
The future is bright for dental hygienists. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this role to grow 6 percent between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The demand for dental hygienists is growing due to a record-breaking, aging population, and their need for dental care. And as new research underlines the importance of dentistry on general health, the BLS expects the need for dental hygienists to grow.
- A Great Work-Life Balance
In addition to the plentiful job opportunities that await, dental hygienists enjoy a solid work-life balance. Unlike nurses and doctors, who are often called in to work overnight or must cover holiday and weekend shifts, the schedule of a dental hygienist is a steady and stable one. Most dental hygienists follow standard business hours, and even have the option to work part time, if desired. This leaves plenty of time for family life and personal interests.
- A Comfortable Salary
Dental hygienists earn good pay, and only need to earn a degree at the associate level. On average, dental hygienists earn a median salary of $76,220 per year. In Connecticut, dental hygienists make an average of $82,600 annually.
Unlike dentists, who must earn a bachelor’s degree (about four years of school), plus a two- to four- year residency before starting their career, dental hygienists can get working in the field shortly after earning their associate degree and taking the national and state examinations. This means a shorter drive to the career destination. The road to becoming a dental hygienist is about 2-3 years long.
With an associate degree in dental hygiene, like the one at Goodwin University, students learn their trade with hands-on learning by industry professionals. Students have access to a state-of-the art dental lab and equipment to perfect their skills in a supervised setting. They also learn in a fully functional dental office with full waiting areas for patients! Classes are taught by industry professionals, whose experience can offer better insight than any textbook ever could.
- A Rewarding Career
Dental hygienists work directly with patients on a daily basis. They clean teeth, assess oral health, and take X-Rays or any other important dental health documents needed. Dental hygienist duties vary by state, and the BLS has reported that states are increasingly enabling hygienists to work at the top of their training.
As many health experts have said in recent years, good dental health is important for overall health. Oral health issues have been linked to numerous chronic health issues, such as cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, and diabetes. Clearly, dental health is critical to overall health. When you help patients maintain proper dental health, you are helping them maintain their overall health and avoid more serious health complications.
Dental hygienists work very closely with their patients and get to know them throughout the years. During routine cleanings and visits, patients often chat about their personal and professional lives. If you are a social person who enjoys meeting different kinds of people, the role of dental hygienist is a great one. Not only are you helping your patients clean their teeth, but you are also making a personal connection and building relationships as you enjoy your career.
In addition to flexible scheduling, dental hygienists can also pursue a flexible dental hygienist program. At Goodwin, for example, students can study while maintaining their job and personal commitments. Goodwin is all about convenience. Dental hygiene classes in the are available on campus and in a hybrid (online and in-person) format. Additionally, the clinic is open 6 days a week, so you can get trained and working in the field in as little as 24 months!
The question is not ‘Why study dental hygiene?’ but instead, ‘Why not?’ With such growth and reward expected, now is the time to launch your career in this growing field. To learn more about becoming a dental hygienist through Goodwin University, or to request more information about our dental hygiene program, do not hesitate to reach out. Call 800-889-3282 or visit us online to learn more.
Goodwin University is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin University was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.