Mentor Advice ForumMaster's in dental hygiene
Morgan Cabana asked 3 years ago

I plan on pursuing a Master’s degree next year when I’m finished with my Bachelor’s. I am debating between getting a Master’s in Dental Hygiene or in general Public Health. Would you prefer one route over the other? Would public health open more doors for me? Would they both be well respected in a career?

3 Answers
Christine Nathe, RDH, MS Staff answered 3 years ago

I have been in dental public health since I graduated from dental hygiene school, and have worked in various settings, such as public health clinics, Head Start, schools, nursing homes, VA Hospital, prison, military base, etc. I also write a textbook on dental public health and research for dental hygienists and have a Master of Science in Dental Hygiene degree. I have not once regretted this decision because I was debating between both degrees you mentioned.  Actually, in graduate school all of my projects and thesis were geared toward public health and I even traveled to developing countries creating dental public health programs….I think if you are interested in staying in the dental field, stick with MSDH, if you are interested in going outside the dental field, consider a Master’s in another area. Hope this helps!

Christine M. Farrell, RDH, BSDH, MPA Staff answered 3 years ago

Getting your Master’s degree in any field is an accomplishment. What route to go depends on your interests and passions. Both the MSDH and MPH are worthwhile degrees. It depends on if you prefer education, then a MSDH may be more preferable. If you prefer public health, then an MPH may be more to your liking. An MSDH may lead you to stay in the academic community and work with other students. Public health may be in organizations or in government agencies—this could be at the local, state, or national levels. Both are worthwhile degrees that you can use in education, public health, administration, corporate, and research fields. Talk to an admissions person in both a MSDH and a MPH program. Talk to someone who has a MSDH degree and someone with an MPH and ask them the questions you have here. Look at schools and see what the programs offer in career counseling and placement. You need to look at your long-term goals to determine what path you choose.

Cynthia C. Gadbury-Amyot, MSDH, EdD Staff answered 3 years ago

It really depends on the focus you plan to take. Identify some positions that you think would be of interest and see how they have put together the job announcement. What are the requirements for applicants, etc. This should start to give you a good idea of which educational route you would take.