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Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Austin, Texas

If you want to be a dental hygienist, the Austin, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 9,210 working dental hygienists in Texas; this should grow 39% to about 12,760 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%. Dental hygienists generally clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.

The income of a dental hygienist is about $33 per hour or $69,670 annually on average in Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $32 per hour or $66,570 annually on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Dental, people working as dental hygienists in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Dental nationally. Jobs in this field include: hygienist, registered dental hygienist , and oral hygienist.

There are thirty-five schools of higher education in the Austin area, including one within twenty-five miles of Austin where you can get a degree to start your career as a dental hygienist. The most common level of education for dental hygienists is an Associate's, or other 2-year degree. You can expect to spend about two years studying to be a dental hygienist if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Austin 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.


Austin Community College District - Austin, TX

Austin Community College District, 5930 Middle Fiskville Rd, Austin, TX 78752. Austin Community College District is a large college located in Austin, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 35,798 students. Austin Community College District has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated sixteen 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: Texas State Board of Dental Examiners
Address: 333 Guadalupe, Tower III, Suite 800, Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 463-6400
Website: Texas State Board of Dental Examiners


Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas photo by Wikidiculous

Austin is located in Travis County, Texas. It has a population of over 757,688, which has grown by 15.4% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Austin, 88, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Austin are valued at $139,500 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, 1,928 new homes were constructed in Austin, down from 3,155 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Austin are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 40.4% of Austin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 14.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Austin is 6.5%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Austin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 46.2%, is less than both the national and state average. Pilgrim Rest Primitive Baptist Church, Adam and Eve Garden Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Baptist Church are all churches located in Austin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Austin is home to the Morris Williams Golf Course and the Sixth Street Historic District as well as Wild Basin Wilderness Park and Rudolph Gamblin Field. Shopping centers in the area include Capital Plaza Shopping Center, Capital Plaza Shopping Center and Lamar Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Austin can choose from Club Hotel by Doubletree Austin University Area, Austin Folk House and AmeriPark at Austin for temporary stays in the area.