Mentor Advice ForumCategory: QuestionsWhat is a hygienist's role in industry?
Guest User asked 5 years ago

Could you please explain what a hygienist’s role in industry might be?

1 Answers
Lillian J. Caperila, RDH, MEd Staff answered 5 years ago

Thanks for your great question copied below that you ask what the hygienists’ role is in industry. The editorial board suggested I answer this since my position is in the dental industry since the year 2000. My name is Lil Caperila, and my position is a Manager of Professional Education for a dental manufacturer. I must admit that this was not a career I had aspired for when I was schooling to obtain a dental hygiene certificate OR any of my higher degrees. Being a clinical practicing hygienist is always your best baseline to embellish your expertise in clinical skills. (and I don’t only mean scaling and polishing… but communication, patient relations, teamwork with colleagues, professional growth and volunteerism). When I decided that I wanted to pursue an alternative path – this position was intriguing to me. The difficulty I may have in providing a concise answer is to find out how YOU define industry? IF you mean a corporate position (which I do) then it could take on the image of a sales manager, product manager, clinical research or trainer. But, if you are thinking of outside sales, that is another arena in the dental industry that I do not have similar experience. There can be so many options depending on YOUR skills. If you have a bachelors degree in another discipline (such as marketing, business, communication etc…) that could be very helpful in seeking a sales position or an internal position such as mine. Today, many companies are expecting a minimum level of bachelors degree to gain a position in almost any role in this industry. For particular jobs, it may require even more. I began with my B.S. in Dental Hygiene Education but was already midway through my masters program in Education (instructional design and training). Most of the hygienists I know who have secured career positions in our dental industry are working in the following roles: 1. Clinical Educators 2. Sales – field sales or territory managers of sales teams (they may be general product sales with dental dealers OR on specializes sales teams for universities ) 3. Instructional design and trainers 4. Corporate managers of CE or University Sales 5. Product research / biomaterials 6. Some of the above may also balance another role such as myself “Corporate Relations in Dental Hygiene” BE creative – take the initiative to sell yourself and skills you already have! if you believe you require more education – take course in evenings/weekends, or online. Attend professional meetings to network!!! I have made most of my major career moves through the professional network of friends in this industry. My best to you!