A dental hygienist is a preventative oral health care professional who is licensed. They provide the public with therapeutic, clinical and educational services. Dental hygienist is a profession that is constantly in high demand. You may be considering this profession as a career, but you are not quite sure what is involved as far as education and other qualifications. Read further to learn everything you need to know about how you can begin an exciting new career as a dental hygienist in Nevada.
What are the specific duties of a dental hygienist?
Before you spend a large amount of time and money studying to be a dental hygienist, it is important to know exactly what their daily responsibilities are. Once you know this, you can decide if you can see yourself doing these tasks every day for many years to come. First of all, dental hygienists will usually be supervised by a licensed dentist. Therefore, you will have a boss and someone to answer to. Dental hygienists never work alone in their own office, so if you have a desire to be independent and to be your own boss, this career is not for you. You will teach your patients the various aspects of having good oral hygiene. Cleaning the teeth of patients, conducting oral inspections and patient assessments will also be a regular part of your job.
While dental hygienists are most commonly employed by specialty and general dental facilities, they can also be found at healthcare facilities, nursing homes and hospitals. Many of the hygienists who work in these institutions do so on a part-time basis. It is necessary for dental hygienists to stand and lean over their patients for long periods of time. Therefore, if you have experienced back problems in the past, or if you do not think you are physically capable of doing this, you may need to consider a different career.
What are the educational requirements?
Here are the other basic core requirements for the dental hygienist field:
– Degree field of study: Dental hygiene
– Degree level: The vast majority of dental hygienists have an associate’s degree. However, there are also programs available for people to earn a certificate, bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree in the field of dental hygiene. As you might expect, the higher degree you attain, the more money you can command after graduation.
– Key skills: Critical-thinking, decision-making and dexterity.
– Technical skills: You will need to be trained to use probes, lasers, dental scalers, various teeth cleaning devices and dental x-ray machines.
– Computer skills: You will need to be trained to use Henry Schein Dentrix software, dental office management software, dental-charting software and dental-billing software.
– Additional skills: A dental hygienist will need to have physical stamina. People who are not capable of being on their feet for a large portion of the day will not be able to do this job. You will be dealing with the general public, and in many cases your patients will be children who are scared of the dentist. This means that it is critical that you have excellent interpersonal skills to help put nervous and scared people at ease. There are also many adults who dread going to the dentist, so being friendly and reassuring are qualities that every dental hygienist needs to have.
Does a dental hygienist need to have a license?
Yes. All 50 states currently require the licensure of dental hygienists. The requirements for eligibility will vary from state to state. However, almost every state requires a person to have postsecondary credentials from a dental hygiene program offered by an accredited institution. You must be certified in CPR. In order to earn a license, you must take the written exam that is given by the American Dental Association (ADA). After this exam has been successfully passed, a state or regional clinical board examination must also be passed.
What is the average salary of a dental hygienist?
The salary you will earn will depend on various factors such as how competitive the market is and the population of the local area you are working in. For example, the average salary for a dental hygienist in Carson City, NV is $71,000. However, the average salary in Reno, NV is $68,000.
Are dental hygienists required to take any continuing education classes?
Yes. Once again, the amount of required continuing education for a dental hygienist will vary from state to state. In Nevada, 15 hours of continuing education are required every year. However, six hours of this total are allowed to be taken through correspondence courses or online. If a dental hygienist fails to complete the required amount of continuing education hours in the allotted period of time, he or she will not be allowed to renew their license until their classes have been completed.