Career and Education Opportunities for Dental Hygienists in Houston, Texas
Dental hygienists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Houston, Texas area. Currently, 9,210 people work as dental hygienists in Texas. This is expected to grow 39% to 12,760 people 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. Dental hygienists generally clean teeth and examine oral areas, head, and neck for signs of oral disease.
Income for dental hygienists is about $33 hourly or $69,670 annually on average in Texas. Nationally, their income is about $32 per hour or $66,570 annually. Earnings for dental hygienists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Dental in Texas and not quite as good as general Dental category earnings nationally. People working as dental hygienists can fill a number of jobs, such as: hygienist, registered dental hygienist , and dental nurse.
There are two schools within twenty-five miles of Houston where you can study to be a dental hygienist, among eighty-one schools of higher education total in the Houston area. 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
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 Houston 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.
- Orthodontist. Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
- 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
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston - Houston, TX
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 7000 Fannin, Suite 1200, Houston, TX 77030. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston is a small university located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,865 students. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston has a two to four year and a bachelor's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated fourteen and thirty-five students respectively in 2008.
Lone Star College System - The Woodlands, TX
Lone Star College System, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands, TX 77381-4399. Lone Star College System is a large college located in The Woodlands, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,331 students. Lone Star College System has an associate's degree program in Dental Hygiene/Hygienist which graduated twelve 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
LOCATION INFORMATION: Houston, Texas
Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.
The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.
Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.