I am about to finish my associates of Dental Hygiene and I was recently in an automobile accident. I am worried my time clinically will be limited due to injuries sustained in the accident. I am a very motivated person and the sales avenue I think I would excel in. Can you tell me if I would have to continue my education and how the salary and responsibilities compare to a clinical position? I am feeling lost and sad that this unfortunate circumstance may steal what I have worked so hard for. If you think there are other avenues that may work I would also like to hear about them. Thank you for your time!
First let me say I am so sorry for your misfortune in the recent car accident that may alter your career aspirations. Although I don’t know the nature of your injuries, I wonder if a sales consultant position would be equally demanding with any residual chronic discomfort you experience following your accident? A sales position for any of the major dental companies may vary based on a few specifics: (1) past sales experience, (2) clinical expertise, (3) overall negotiation skills. A bachelor’s degree is usually the minimum for most job postings in sales or related positions in our industry. If you were seeking a position in product research and development or marketing in our industry, then, you may need a higher degree or a bachelors degree in marketing, research or business. The salary compensation for sales is a wide range but usually a bit higher than the average clinical hygiene position. If you were able to use your hygiene education and skills in a Manager role, there are many “corporate owned large group practices” that are seeking energetic and talented hygienists who can manage the “hygiene teams” of all practices under that ownership. Maybe you could do less clinical practice and more managerial role in the practice? My recommendation is think about the skills you currently have and capitalize on those – to seek out a position where you can guide others without needing to perform as a clinical hygienist. Then, if you can, take advantage of online learning and obtain your degree with a little focus on business courses or related topics that will move you further in sales or marketing. This may be very attractive to a company in our dental industry that would love a person with both marketing skills and dental knowledge! Good luck to you in your career.