I’m currently pursuing my bachelors in dental hygiene and dental research has gained my interest. I was recently watching a video about a dental researcher who studies the process of tooth decay. The main focus of his research is to create tooth decay and then try and restore the tooth back to health. I would love to have a career as a dental researcher studying in a laboratory just like the researcher I was talking about. How do I get there? Do you know if the pay scale is similar to a dental hygienist working in a private office? Tina
There are a few pathways to begin a career in research. The caries research described involves a molecular chemistry background and more than likely the researcher is funded by grants and has a PhD. Life supported by research grants is entirely different than practice, and options for work in this area include academics and industry. NIH sets a maximum cap on salaries at about $200K but salaries can be supplemented in academics. Industry has a higher salary range. As a hygienist, the options for bench research are available but usually at a technician level unless they have advanced degrees. Clinical research has better career paths for hygienists. If you search The Journal of Dental Hygiene, you’ll find an article that Chris Charles, Janet Kinney and I published on research careers. Hope that helps and good luck!