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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for dental hygienists. About 820 people are currently employed as dental hygienists in Nebraska. By 2016, this is expected to grow 51% to 1,240 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for dental hygienists are expected to grow by about 36.1%. Dental hygienists generally clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.

Income for dental hygienists is about $30 per hour or $62,580 per year on average in Nebraska. Nationally, their income is about $32 per hour or $66,570 annually. Dental hygienists earn less than people working in the category of Dental generally in Nebraska and less than people in the Dental category nationally. People working as dental hygienists can fill a number of jobs, such as: hygienist, registered dental hygienist , and oral hygienist.

The Omaha area is home to thirty-one schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of Omaha where you can get a degree as a dental hygienist. Given that the most common education level 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 Omaha include:

  • Dentist. Diagnose and treat diseases, injuries, and malformations of teeth and gums and related oral structures. May treat diseases of nerve, pulp, and other dental tissues affecting vitality of teeth.
  • 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.
  • Nuclear Medical Technologist. Prepare, administer, and measure radioactive isotopes in therapeutic, diagnostic, and tracer studies utilizing a variety of radioisotope equipment. Prepare stock solutions of radioactive materials and calculate doses to be administered by radiologists. Subject patients to radiation. Execute blood volume, red cell survival, and fat absorption studies following standard laboratory techniques.
  • Radiation Therapist. Provide radiation therapy to patients as prescribed by a radiologist according to established practices and standards. Duties may include reviewing prescription and diagnosis; acting as liaison with physician and supportive care personnel; preparing equipment, such as immobilization, treatment, and protection devices; and maintaining records, reports, and files. May assist in dosimetry procedures and tumor localization.
  • 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

Creighton University - Omaha, NE

Creighton University, 2500 California Plaza, Omaha, NE 68178. Creighton University is a medium sized university located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,059 students and an admission rate of 79%. Creighton University has a bachelor's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist.

University of Nebraska Medical Center - Omaha, NE

University of Nebraska Medical Center, 987815 Nebraska Medical Ctr, Omaha, NE 68198-7815. University of Nebraska Medical Center is a small university located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,194 students. University of Nebraska Medical Center has a bachelor's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated twenty-four students in 2008.

Iowa Western Community College - Council Bluffs, IA

Iowa Western Community College, 2700 College Rd, Council Bluffs, IA 51502-3004. Iowa Western Community College is a medium sized college located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,642 students. Iowa Western Community College has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated sixteen students 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 Hygienists

Licensing agency: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Address: Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit, PO Box 94986, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

Phone: (402) 471-2118
Website: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit

LOCATION INFORMATION: Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska photo by Yassie

Omaha is located in Douglas County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 438,646, which has grown by 12.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Omaha, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Omaha are valued at $105,100 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, 1,576 new homes were built in Omaha, down from 1,905 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Omaha are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 28.7% of Omaha residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Omaha is 4.7%, which is greater than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Omaha residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 54.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Calvary Baptist Church, Calvary Chapel of Omaha and Calvary Foursquare Gospel Church are all churches located in Omaha. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Omaha is home to the Gibson and the Cedar Hills Golf Course as well as Al Caniglia Field and Adams Park. Shopping malls in the area include Frederick Square Shopping Center, North Park Shopping Center and Oak View Mall. Visitors to Omaha can choose from Countryside Suites, Hampton Inn Omaha-Central and Townhouse Inn for temporary stays in the area.