Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Athens, Georgia
Many educational and employment opportunities exist for dental hygienists in the Athens, Georgia area. There are currently 5,110 working dental hygienists in Georgia; this should grow by 38% to 7,050 working dental hygienists in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dental hygienists are expected to grow by about 36.1%. In general, dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.
Dental hygienists earn approximately $32 hourly or $67,340 per year on average in Georgia. Nationally they average about $32 per hour or $66,570 annually. Dental hygienists earn less than people working in the category of Dental generally in Georgia and less than people in the Dental category nationally. Dental hygienists work in a variety of jobs, including: registered dental hygienist , hygienist, and oral hygienist.
There are five schools of higher education in the Athens area, including one within twenty-five miles of Athens where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists usually hold an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, so you can expect to spend about two years studying to be a dental hygienist if you already have a high school diploma.
CAREER DESCRIPTION: Dental Hygienist
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 Athens 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
Athens Technical College - Athens, GA
Athens Technical College, 800 US Hwy 29 N, Athens, GA 30601-1500. Athens Technical College is a small college located in Athens, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,131 students. Athens Technical College has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated fourteen students in 2008.
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.
Licensing agency: Georgia Board of Dentistry
Address: 237 Coliseum Drive, Room 310, Macon, GA 31217-3858
Phone: (478) 207-1680
Website: Georgia Board of Dentistry
LOCATION INFORMATION: Athens, Georgia
Athens is situated in Brantley County, Georgia. It has a population of over 113,398, which has grown by 13.1% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Athens, 87, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Athens cost $146,800 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred four new homes were constructed in Athens, down from four hundred seventy-two the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Athens are educational services, accommodation and food services, and health care. For men, it is educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 40.0% of Athens residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 19.0%, is higher than the state average.
The percentage of Athens residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 55.6%, is more than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Church of God (Cleveland and the The Wesleyan Church.