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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Charlotte, North Carolina

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for dental hygienists in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. There are currently 4,800 working dental hygienists in North Carolina; this should grow by 37% to about 6,580 working dental hygienists in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for dental hygienists, which sees this job pool growing by about 36.1% over the next eight years. In general, dental hygienists clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.

Dental hygienists earn about $29 per hour or $62,070 annually on average in North Carolina and about $32 per hour or $66,570 per year on average nationally. Dental hygienists earn less than people working in the category of Dental generally in North Carolina and less than people in the Dental category nationally. Jobs in this field include: dental nurse, hygienist, and oral hygienist.

There are forty-three schools of higher education in the Charlotte area, including three within twenty-five miles of Charlotte where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental hygienist. Given that the most common education level for dental hygienists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree, you can expect to spend about two years training to become 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 Charlotte 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.
  • 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

Catawba Valley Community College - Hickory, NC

Catawba Valley Community College, 2550 Hwy 70 SE, Hickory, NC 28602-0699. Catawba Valley Community College is a small college located in Hickory, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,011 students. Catawba Valley Community College has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated fifteen students in 2008.

Central Piedmont Community College - Charlotte, NC

Central Piedmont Community College, 1201 Elizabeth Avenue, Charlotte, NC 28204. Central Piedmont Community College is a large college located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,536 students. Central Piedmont Community College has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated thirty-one students in 2008.

York Technical College - Rock Hill, SC

York Technical College, 452 S Anderson Rd, Rock Hill, SC 29730. York Technical College is a medium sized college located in Rock Hill, South Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,094 students. York Technical 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 Hygienist

Licensing agency: NC State Board of Dental Examiners
Address: 15100 Weston Parkway, Suite 101, Cary, NC 27513

Phone: (919) 678-8223
Website: NC State Board of Dental Examiners

LOCATION INFORMATION: Charlotte, North Carolina

Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina photo by Alaskan Assassin

Charlotte is located in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 687,456, which has grown by 27.1% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Charlotte, 86, is well below the national average.

The three big industries for women in Charlotte are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, finance and insurance, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 36.4% of Charlotte residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Charlotte is 9.7%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Charlotte residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 48.0%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. New Hampton Church, New Emmanuel Church and New East Stonewall Church are all churches located in Charlotte. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Charlotte is home to the Crown Point Plaza and the Providence Square as well as Kilborne District Park and Little Rock Road District Park. Shopping malls in the area include Heckinger Shopping Center, Hampshire Hills Shopping Center and Providence Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Charlotte can choose from American Motel, Extended Stay America - Charlotte/Tyvola and Drury Inn and Suites Charlotte for temporary stays in the area.