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Careers: Dental Hygienist


Dental hygienists are licensed members of the dental team who are responsible for preventive care and education. They remove calculus and plaque from teeth, apply fluoride and sealants, perform deep cleanings to prevent and treat gum disease and assist the dentist in providing oral health treatment. They also educate patients about proper nutrition and oral hygiene, review and maintain patients' charts and take and develop X-rays.

EDUCATION
A high school diploma is required. Formal training includes a minimum of two years of study in an accredited dental hygiene program.

DEGREE
Associate of Science {AS)

AVAILABILITY OF PROGRAMS
There are 13 accredited dental hygiene programs at community colleges in Florida.

COST OF EDUCATION
The average cost of two years of dental hygiene education is $4,300.

FINANCIAL AID
Private, state and federal loans and scholarships are available to assist qualified applicants with dental hygiene education costs.

LICENSURE REQUIREMENTS
To get a dental hygiene license, students must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program. They also must pass the national dental hygiene written board and the Florida dental hygiene clinical board. After passing the state board, the student becomes, a registered dental hygienist (RDH).

JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Job opportunities are available throughout the state. There is a higher demand for dental hygienists in some areas than in others.

SALARY
Salaries or commissions for dental hygienists vary by geographic region. The average salary is $125-$185 per day.

BENEFITS
Benefits vary in each dental office. The most commonly offered benefits are paid vacation, paid holidays, paid sick leave, dental insurance or care, reimbursement for attending continuing education courses, medical insurance and pension plans.

For dental hygentist program information:

Edison State College Program
Hillsborough Community College
Manatee Community College
Pasco-Hernando Community College
St. Petersburg College

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