Not everyone looks forward to visiting their dental hygienist. But according to industry insiders, plenty of people are eager to hire them — especially if they come with high-quality credentials.
“Our students are highly sought after,” said Kristi Taylor, director of Clark College’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Dental Hygiene program. “I regularly get called by dentists locally — and from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and even a few from Alaska — asking if we have any students about to graduate looking for jobs.”
The program is highly competitive, receiving around 100 applications a year for the 25 spots accepted into the program each fall. Small wonder: 100 percent of recent graduates from the program found jobs, Taylor said.
A career-focused program
Clark College has offered a dental hygiene degree program for many years. Originally a two-year associate degree program, the college switched to offering a bachelor’s degree five years ago in recognition of both changing industry standards and the fact that most students needed to complete two years of prerequisites before entering the two-year, seven-term program.
Dental hygienists provide preventive, educational, and therapeutic dental health services directly to patients, and focus on preventing and treating dental diseases in support of the patient’s overall health. They earn an average of $78,050 a year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.