I have been a dental hygienist for 10 years now and I am wanting to see how I can possibly work my way into another avenue as my body/hands have taken quite a hit over the years. I feel like I have gained so much knowledge over the years that I still want to do something with it rather then leave dental completely. I am just not sure how to go about this. I did get my BSDH degree shortly after I graduated with AA. Any advice?
My advice is to find out what you want to do. Ask hygienists who are doing work outside of clinical practice what they like about their position and the limitations. Once you find something you want to pursue, find out what education and skills are needed for that position and get the education and find positions that will give you those skills so that when you apply for a position your resume will rise to the top. Look at your component and state levels of ADHA to develop organizational, networking and leadership skills.
My advice would be to complete your Masters in Dental Hygiene. It will help build your portfolio and with all of you experience, you should have ample opportuties!
Earning a Master’s Degree in Dental Hygiene Education and/ or Research can open so many doors for you. I earned my MS Degree in Dental Hygiene Education nearly 50 years ago. I have done everything you can do with that degree: education, research (which included a fair number of publications, served as an editor and editorial review board member for several journal and reviewed textbooks administration, authored texts and chapters. I also was the Dental Hygienist for the Dallas Cowboys and treated patients at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital. What I would like to emphasize to you is that your degree will open all kinds of doors for you. Try listing all the things you are passionate about and let your imagination go-you could even be involved with major zoos
and veterinary dental care. Networking is a tremendous way of discovering numerous opportunities. I wish you the very best for your future!
It’s important to investigate options and decide what is the area where you have most interest – for example is it education, sales, training, presenting etc… then you will have a better idea of who to network with and connect with to get more insight on possible opportunities. Also, don’t limit your thinking a dental hygienists knowledge can also be used in other health care settings especially where there may medical/dental integration happening.