PREPARING FOR A CAREER AS A DENTAL HYGENIST
If you want to become a dental hygienist, then first and the most obvious step is to attend a Dental Hygienist School. When picking out the school, make sure that the programs are Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). You must do so, because if you choose a program that has not been approved, then you might not be able to attempt the National Dentist Hygiene Certification Board
How to get the CDHO Licensing?
Once your training is over, it is time for you to get your license from a relevant provincial regulatory authority. To do that you need to appear and pass the entry-to-practice examinations. The test is divided into two, the first is a written exam which is administered by the National Dental Hygiene Certification Board (NDHCB). Once you have passed the written exam, then you will be able to appear for a Clinical Exam, which is administered by the College of Dental Hygienists, this exam assesses the clinical skills.
Once you have received your license, you should consider seeking memberships of professional organizations like the Canadian Dental Hygienist Association (CDHA). These organizations were started to protect the interests of dental hygienists. If you become a member of these organizations, then it will help you to find better opportunities as the potential employers would know that you prescribe to the rules set by the organizations.
Acquiring the relevant skill set:
When undergoing training you must perfect all the hard and soft skills needed for the job. The hard skills include taking x-rays, fluoride treatments, teeth cleaning/whitening, applying sealants and giving oral health instructions. Whereas soft skills include communication and interpersonal skills, time management, professional attitude, intellect, conceptual and cognitive skills. As it is a hands-on job, it requires you to work on your motor skills along with endurance.
How to find a job?
Once you have learned the required skills, it is time to look for a job. Almost 92% of all dental hygienists work in clinical dental hygiene. Out of these 92% respondents, 37% of them work in periodontics whereas 34% work in orthodontics. Further reports have shown that those who have wanted a change, out of the 30% switched to community health, 24% switched to educational institutions and 13% of them have expressed their desire of establishing an independent practice.
One of the best things about choosing dental hygienist as a career option is that it has a low unemployment rate. Hence, finding a job is not as difficult as it might seem. Once you start attending a dental hygienist school, you should consider starting as an intern at a dentist’s clinic to get some hands-on experience. Keeping yourself updated with the latest techniques, tools and theories in the field would not only set you apart but would boost your career growth chart. The CDHA provides you with various opportunities like workshops, seminars and online courses.