The average hourly wage for dental hygienists has risen every year since 2011, so this is a good career option. To make this career change, you’ll need to return to college.
Choosing a college is a big decision. Students need to carefully research colleges and Dental Hygiene programs. However, you may not know what to look for when you’re researching programs. Here are some things good dental hygienist programs need to have.
When you’re researching Dental Hygiene programs, the first thing to check for is whether or not the programs are accredited. Dental Hygiene programs are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation in Canada (CDAC). The CDAC develops the requirements for college programs that train dental hygienists and other dental professionals.
To become accredited, colleges have to submit detailed information about the programs they’re offering. Then, an accreditation survey team from the CDAC performs structured on-site visits to review the college’s programs. This includes interviews with students and instructors. If programs meet or exceed the CDAC’s requirements, they become accredited.
Students can search for accredited Dental Hygiene programs on the CDAC’s website. There are only 18 accredited Dental Hygiene programs in Ontario.
Students who graduate from non-accredited Dental Hygiene programs may not be allowed to write the National Dental Hygiene Certification Examination. If you can’t write the exam, you can’t become a dental hygienist.
Instructors with Industry Experience
Another important thing every dental hygiene program should have is instructors with industry experience. At some colleges, the instructors may have theoretical knowledge, but they’ve never actually worked in the industry. Instructors with industry experience have put everything they teach their students into practice. They can answer students’ questions about dental hygiene from experience.
Before you enroll in a program, book a campus tour and meet some of the instructors. At a good college, the instructors you meet will have extensive experience working as dental hygienists in the past. Some may even be teaching part time while they continue working as dental hygienists. Part-time instructors continue working as dental hygienists to ensure their skills stay as fresh as possible.
Hands-On Training for Students
Dental Hygiene programs should also offer hands-on training for students. It’s not enough to just read about how to perform dental hygiene services. You’ll also need practice to learn how to perform these services. By the time you graduate from a good Dental Hygiene program, you should already have significant hands-on experience.
Look for a college program that gives dental hygienist students the opportunity to practise on members of the public. Good colleges offer dental hygiene clinics, and people from the community can come in for discounted services. Students get the opportunity to perform cleanings, fluoride treatments, and x-rays on real people. These services are performed under the supervision of registered dental hygienists to ensure students do everything correctly.
Career Services Department
Finding a good job can be challenging, even if you’ve graduated from one of Ontario’s best Dental Hygiene programs. That’s why you should study dental hygiene at a college that offers a career services department. The career services department helps dental hygiene students and graduates with their job searches.
At a good college, you can get help with writing resumes or cover letters. You can also develop interview skills by participating in mock interviews. By the time you graduate and need to start looking for dental hygiene jobs, you’ll have better job-hunting skills. This can give you an advantage in the job market and help you find a great dental hygiene job out of college.