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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Bakersfield, California

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for dental hygienists in the Bakersfield, California area. Currently, 22,400 people work as dental hygienists in California. This is expected to grow 36% to about 30,400 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for dental hygienists, which sees this job pool growing by about 36.1% over the next eight years. Dental hygienists generally clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.

A person working as a dental hygienist can expect to earn about $42 hourly or $87,460 annually on average in California and about $32 hourly or $66,570 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Dental hygienists earn less than people working in the category of Dental generally in California and less than people in the Dental category nationally. Dental hygienists work in a variety of jobs, including: dental nurse, hygienist, and registered dental hygienist .

The Bakersfield area is home to eight schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Bakersfield where you can get a degree as a dental hygienist. The most common level of education for dental hygienists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. It will take about two years to learn to be a dental hygienist if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease. They also may educate patients on oral hygiene, take and develop X-rays, or apply fluoride or sealants.

Dental hygienists furnish clinical services and health education to further optimize and maintain the oral health of patients and the general public. They also clean calcareous deposits and stains from teeth and beneath margins of gums, using dental instruments. Equally important, dental hygienists have to feel and visually examine gums for sores and signs of disease. They are often called upon to record and review patient medical histories. They are expected to examine gums, using probes, to identify periodontal recessed gums and signs of gum disease. Finally, dental hygienists remove excess cement from coronal surfaces of teeth.

Every day, dental hygienists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to listen to and understand others in meetings. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for dental hygienists to feel lymph nodes under patient's chin to uncover swelling or tenderness that could indicate presence of oral cancer. They are often called upon to maintain patient recall system. They also expose and develop x-ray film. They are sometimes expected to chart conditions of decay and disease for diagnosis and treatment by dentist. Somewhat less frequently, dental hygienists are also expected to conduct dental health clinics for community groups to augment services of dentist.

Dental hygienists sometimes are asked to apply fluorides and other cavity preventing agents to arrest dental decay. They also have to be able to administer local anesthetic agents and make impressions for study casts. And finally, they sometimes have to place and remove rubber dams and temporary restorations.

Like many other jobs, dental hygienists must be reliable and have exceptional integrity.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Bakersfield include:

  • Licensed Practical Nurse. Care for ill, injured, or disabled persons in hospitals, nursing homes, and similar institutions. May work under the supervision of a registered nurse. Licensing required.
  • Radiological Technician. Maintain and use equipment and supplies necessary to demonstrate portions of the human body on x-ray film or fluoroscopic screen for diagnostic purposes.
  • Radiology Technologist. Take x-rays and Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT or CT) scans or administer nonradioactive materials into patient's blood stream for diagnostic purposes. Includes technologists who specialize in other modalities, such as computed tomography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance.
  • Respiratory Therapist. Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, and operate equipment.
  • Surgical Technician. Assist in operations, under the supervision of surgeons, registered nurses, or other surgical personnel. May help set up operating room, prepare and transport patients for surgery, adjust lights and equipment, pass instruments and other supplies to surgeons and surgeon's assistants, hold retractors, and help count sponges, needles, and instruments.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Dental Hygienist Training

Taft College - Taft, CA

Taft College, 29 Emmons Park Drive, Taft, CA 93268. Taft College is a medium sized college located in Taft, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 9,463 students. Taft College has an associate's degree and a two to four year program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated twenty-five and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Associate Fellow: Your Associate Fellow certificate lets your patients know that you are an experienced, credentialed implant professional.

For more information, see the American Academy of Implant Dentistry website.

Certified Dental Technician: Certification is the process of assessing a dental technician's knowledge and applied skill level necessary to perform the tasks required of a dental technician.

For more information, see the National Board for Certification in Dental Laboratory Technology website.

LICENSES

Dental Hygienist, Registered

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

Extended Functions - Dental Auxiliaries (Dental Hygienist)

Licensing agency: Department of Consumer Affairs
Address: Committee on Dental Auxiliaries, 1428 Howe Avenue, Suite 58, Sacramento, CA 95825

Phone: (916) 263-2595
Website: Department of Consumer Affairs Committee on Dental Auxiliaries

LOCATION INFORMATION: Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California
Bakersfield, California photo by Bobak

Bakersfield is situated in Kern County, California. It has a population of over 321,078, which has grown by 30.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Bakersfield, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Bakersfield are valued at $191,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,038 new homes were built in Bakersfield, down from 1,820 the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Bakersfield are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 22 minutes. More than 19.3% of Bakersfield residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Bakersfield is 10.1%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Bakersfield residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.6%, is less than both the national and state average. Cornerstone Community Church, Coronado Gardens Missionary Baptist Church and Kingdom Hall of Jehovahs Witnesses are some of the churches located in Bakersfield. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the LDS (Mormon) Church.

Bakersfield is home to the Mesa Marin Raceway and the Avenue Oaks Country Club as well as Beale Park and Kern County Fairgrounds. Shopping centers in the area include Sagebrush Shopping Center, White Lane Plaza Shopping Center and Benton Park Shopping Center. Visitors to Bakersfield can choose from Best Western Heritage Inn, Best Western Hill House and America's Best Inn Bakersfield for temporary stays in the area.