Are you considering a career in Dental Hygiene? Before you take the plunge you should first consider what the job actually entails, what are the requirements to become one, and what the average salary is?
Dental Hygienist Job Duties
Dental hygienists most often work under the supervision of a dentist. Their job entails cleaning a patient’s teeth and gums. In addition, they regularly check the patient’s chin for any enlargement of the lymph nods which would indicate oral cancer. They can also be involved in hygiene awareness classes.
Becoming a Dental Hygienist in Illinois
While the duties seem simple enough on paper, there are a number of requirements that need to be met before you can become a dental hygienist. The first step is taking chemistry, biology, and human anatomy in high school, not to mention graduating. These course can also be completed at any community college. It is important that the courses be completed as they are required to be accepted into an accredited Associates degree is Dental Hygiene program. The program typically takes two years to complete.
Once you have successfully completed the Dental hygiene program you must take two exams. First, you must must apply to take the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. This is a written exam that covers three topics: Basic Sciences, Clinical Dental Hygiene, and Community Health and Research Principles. The test is split into two parts, the first part will take three and half hours and the second part will take four hours. There is an hour break between the two parts.
The second exam is an in-person skill test. The state of Illinois accepts any of these four regional boards CRDTS, NERB, SRTA, and WREB. The American Dental Hygienist Association provides comparative charts about the expectation and requirements of each board. It is important to be aware of the regional board expects of you. Not to mention it is important to be aware of where the board’s testing center is, as it may be quite a distance away.
You cannot work as a dental hygienist in the state of Illinois without a license. Therefore, it is a must to complete an application for a license with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. Attached with the application must be a High school and Associates diploma, the completion of CPR training and passing scores on the national written and regional boards examination before applying for a license.
Obtaining a job in the field is not the final step in the journey to becoming a dental hygienist, the state of Illinois stipulates that dental hygienist must take 36 hours of approved continuing education courses every three years. The IDFPR provides a list on their website of available CE for dental hygienists.
Dental Hygienist Salary in Illinois
Though the load might seem excessive, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a dental hygienist in Illinois is $71,530 or a mean hourly wage of $34.39. Dental hygienist work can be part-time with an hourly wage and commission, or full time with a salary and benefits.