dental hygienist

Career Choices for Dental Hygienists

Many people who attend a dental hygienist educational program may do so to work in this field, providing hygienist services in a dentist’s office. While that is typical right out of school, there may be alternative methods for working in the field as well. Dental Assistant School at Caris College may prepare you to work in a range of fields, depending on the courses you take and the experiences you take on after your education.

What Other Options Are Available to You?

You could work as a dental hygienist once you receive proper licensing and certification. This position involves working with patients, including providing dental exams, looking for signs of oral disease, and providing preventative care to patients. This type of work generally requires working in a dentist office alongside a fully trained and licensed dentist. The BLS notes that those working as dental hygienists earned $37.41 per hour (median) in 2021. These individuals may work full or part time in the field.

Oral Health Practitioner in a Medical Setting

Another route to take if you do not want to work in a dentist office is to switch to a medical setting. You could work as an oral health practitioner providing support for oral health needs in a medical center, hospital, or doctor’s office. This may include helping patients navigate oral health care options, providing pre-screening services for hospitals, and providing in-patient care to those who may be in the hospital for oral-related or non-oral related medical needs. This may include providing both preventative and therapeutic treatment that is vital to the health of the individual. Some even work in an emergency room setting.

Independent Consultant

There is a growing need for individuals who can provide consulting and independent coaching services. For those who want to work with a handful of clients, such as those who may want a specialist to provide dental cleaning services in their home, this could be a route to take. Though not always available in some regions of the country, these individuals may go from one patient’s home to another to provide dental care. They may also provide consulting services to other groups in an office setting.

Mobile Dental Programs

There are also a number of oral dental programs that may be available to those who have a license as a dental hygienist. This could be a viable career path for those who want to work in the field rather than in an office setting, perhaps meeting the needs of those who cannot come in for care. Individuals who are interested in mobile dental programs may be able to work in a range of fields. For example, they may take their mobile dental services to hospitals, schools, or corporate workplaces. They may visit retirement facilities and nursing homes. Some may provide dental services at colleges and universities. Others visit immobile patients in their homes. Many times, dental hygienists can own their own business like this, providing care for anyone they would like to.

Myofunctional Therapist

For those who may want to steer a bit away from dental work in its traditional sense, working as a myofunctional therapist is another option. This type of role involves dealing with disorders related to the muscles that help the face and mouth move. These disorders may be related to the oral cavity but not always are. They may impact the way people breathe, eat, speak, sleep, or engage in other aspects of life. In addition to this, they may provide other types of care related to these muscles, including treatment-based and preventative.

Many of those who work as myofunctional therapists do so with a dental hygienist license, and there is no governing board that oversees this industry. For that reason, they have the ability to make the transition quickly from one field to the other. Keep in mind that it’s still ideal to receive additional training and certification if possible.


Some people may love the work of a dental hygienist, but they want to do more. They may want to continue their education to explore the path of becoming a dentist. This career path requires more training and education, but it may be easier to get into this type of school with a dental hygienist degree or certification in place. You may also find that it is easy enough to work and continue your path towards earning a dental degree.

At Caris College, our dental assisting program is designed to support you on any path you plan to take. No matter what interests you the most about this career path, it’s always wise to think about your future and what types of additional training and education you may need to pursue a career that interests you on all levels. Learn more about Caris College and the educational paths we offer.


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