The first specialty is excerpted along with a sampling of resources from the
all new 4th edition of Health Care Job Explosion!. The
remaining occupations are featured in the same format as presented for dental
hygienists in the text version of Health Care Job Explosion! Occupational groups
are divided into primary and related occupations so that individuals can
investigate other fields for additional job opportunities.
The following other technicians are grouped with the related technologist
occupations in Chapter 4: Cardiovascular Technicians, Clinical Laboratory
Technicians and Radiologic Technicians. Health Information Technicians are
grouped with Medical Records Technicians in Chapter 10.
Health Care Job Explosion features over 1,400 career
exploration and job vacancy resources. Resources are grouped with each
occupation and a sample of related resources are included with the first
Stacey Langston has been an optician for more than 13 years. At first he worked
fitting conventional glasses, but now most of his work is fitting and
pre-testing high-tech eye-wear devices for patients who are visually impaired or
An ABO-certified optician currently working for Envision, Stacey did much of his
training on his own, combined with on-the-job training in Wichita, Kansas. He
says that some states require certification, but even if it is not required, it
is probably an advantage in finding a job in the field. He says employers are
looking for experienced workers and for workers they know will be in the career
for a number of years. Stacey believes certification shows an employer you are
serious about the career. He has noticed that more men are getting into the
"One disadvantage of the career is that you hit the promotion ceiling pretty
quickly," Stacey said, but added, "Employers pay more for additional
experience." He also thinks they pay more for certified workers. Another factor
that can increase your salary is advanced technical skills. Stacey sees a
growing need for opticians who are skilled in devices such as bioptics and
prisms. A bioptic is a type of telescope that can be mounted in a lens. It is
used for people who have conditions such as pinhole vision or limited peripheral
vision or macular degeneration. Prisms mainly help people who have blind spots
in central vision. They redirect vision to a more healthy area of the retina.
He says that society is much more aware of low vision problems and macular
degeneration, now that the population is aging. "The prescriptions we are
getting now are very different than the glasses we fit in the past." Not every
company makes and fits the high tech glasses though. Stacey says, "It’s pretty
exciting to build something for someone – to completely customize eyewear" to
fit special needs.
One of the favorite aspects of his career is working with people. "People rely
on you to know all the latest products and need you on several different levels.
You need to talk to them, to listen to them, so you know what they need and
He says you need to consider your work a career, rather than a job for just a
few months or years. "Maybe you can do the job in four or five months, the
basics anyway, but you are not a good optician until you have done this work a
few years." Stacey adds, "You really need to know the products and what a
Stacey says he learns something everyday because every person he helps is an
individual. "Like most jobs, it is what you put into it. You need to enjoy
people. That’s what keeps me happy."
Note: A complete description of this career choice with
resources is available in chapter five of the new 4th edition of
Health Care Job Explosion.
Dental hygienists remove soft and hard deposits from teeth, teach patients
how to practice good oral hygiene, and provide other preventive dental care.
Hygienists examine patients’ teeth and gums, recording the presence of diseases
or abnormalities. They remove calculus, stains, and plaque from teeth; perform
root planning as a periodontal therapy; take and develop dental x-rays; and
apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and pit and fissure sealants.
In some states, hygienists administer anesthetics; place and carve filling
materials, temporary fillings, and periodontal dressings; remove sutures; and
smooth and polish metal restorations. Although hygienists may not diagnose
diseases, they can prepare clinical and laboratory diagnostic tests for the
dentist to interpret. Hygienists sometimes work chairside with the dentist
Dental hygienists also help patients develop and maintain good oral health. For
example, they may explain the relationship between diet and oral health or
inform patients how to select toothbrushes and show them how to brush and floss
Dental hygienists use hand and rotary instruments and ultrasonics to clean and
polish teeth, x-ray machines to take dental pictures, syringes with needles to
administer local anesthetics, and models of teeth to explain oral hygiene.
Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time,
evening, and weekend schedules are widely available. Dentists frequently hire
hygienists to work only 2 or 3 days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more
than one dental office.
Dental hygienists work in clean, well-lighted offices. Important health
safeguards include strict adherence to proper radiological procedures and the
use of appropriate protective devices when administering anesthetic gas. Dental
hygienists also wear safety glasses, surgical masks, and gloves to protect
themselves and patients from infectious diseases.
Dental hygienists held about 158,000 jobs in 2004. Because multiple job-holding
is common in this field, the number of jobs exceeds the number of hygienists.
More than half of all dental hygienists worked part time—less than 35 hours a
week. Almost all jobs for dental hygienists were in offices of dentists. A very
small number worked for employment services or in offices of physicians.
Dental hygienists must be licensed by the state in which they practice. To
qualify for licensure in nearly all states, a candidate must graduate from an
accredited dental hygiene school and pass both a written and clinical
examination. The American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National
Dental Examinations administers the written examination, which is accepted by
all states and the District of Columbia. State or regional testing agencies
administer the clinical examination. In addition, most states require an
examination on the legal aspects of dental hygiene practice. Alabama allows
candidates to take its examinations if they have been trained through a
state-regulated on-the-job program in a dentist’s office.
In 2004, the Commission on Dental Accreditation accredited 266 programs in
dental hygiene. Most dental hygiene programs grant an associate degree, although
some also offer a certificate, a bachelor’s degree, or a master’s degree. A
minimum of an associate degree or certificate in dental hygiene is generally
required for practice in a private dental office. A bachelor’s or master’s
degree usually is required for research, teaching, or clinical practice in
public or school health programs.
A high school diploma and college entrance test scores are usually required
for admission to a dental hygiene program. Also, some dental hygiene programs
prefer applicants who have completed at least 1 year of college. Requirements
vary from one school to another. Schools offer laboratory, clinical, and
classroom instruction in subjects such as anatomy, physiology, chemistry,
microbiology, pharmacology, nutrition, radiography, histology (the study of
tissue structure), periodontology (the study of gum diseases), pathology, dental
materials, clinical dental hygiene, and social and behavioral sciences.
Dental hygienists should work well with others and must have good manual
dexterity, because they use dental instruments within a patient’s mouth, with
little room for error. High school students interested in becoming a dental
hygienist should take courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics.
Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow much faster than average for
all occupations through 2014, ranking among the fastest growing occupations, in
response to increasing demand for dental care and the greater utilization of
hygienists to perform services previously performed by dentists. Job prospects
are expected to remain excellent.
Population growth and greater retention of natural teeth will stimulate demand
for dental hygienists. Older dentists, who have been less likely to employ
dental hygienists, are leaving the occupation and will be replaced by recent
graduates, who are more likely to employ one or even two hygienists. In
addition, as dentists’ workloads increase, they are expected to hire more
hygienists to perform preventive dental care, such as cleaning
Median hourly earnings of dental hygienists were $28.05 in May 2004. The middle
50 percent earned between $22.72 and $33.82 an hour. The lowest 10 percent
earned less than $18.05, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $40.70 an
Earnings vary by geographic location, employment setting, and years of
experience. Dental hygienists may be paid on an hourly, daily, salary, or
Benefits vary substantially by practice setting and may be contingent upon
full-time employment. Dental hygienists who work for school
systems, public health agencies, the federal government, or state agencies
usually have substantial benefits.
A computerized instrument, the Florida probe, measures recession, pocket depth,
mobility, and furcation involvement. This device stores the information and
provides a detailed print to show the patient.
Lasers are fast becoming the dentists tool of choice for several applications
including light-curing sealants. The argon laser also softens subgingival
calculus and is used in scaling and root planning steps.
Computer imaging intraoral camera systems are now being used to better evaluate
patients. This system enlarges problem areas and graphically provides the
patients with visible evidence of their condition. The vast increase in
available data is improving communication between doctor and patient.
Another fascinating technological development is electronic dental anesthesia
(EDA). This new development administers electronic impulses that blocks the pain
normally associated with dental work. The patient feels a buzzing sensation
instead of discomfort.
There are 121 total resources presented in the paperback version of
Health Care Job Explosion! 4th edition by Dennis V.
Damp for this occupational group. Resources include Job Ads, Job Hotlines, Job
Fairs, Placement services, Associations, Books, Directories and Internet (Web)
Sites. Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you
can purchase a copy for $19.95 plus shipping with all major credit cards from
our toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only).
American Academy of Dental Group Practice (AADGP) - 2525 E. Arizona Biltmore
Circle, Suite 127 , Phoenix, AZ 85016; 602/381-1185.
email@example.com Members comprised of dentists
and dental group practices. Publishes membership directory, $50 to nonmembers.
American Dental Association (ADA) - 211 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60611;
312/440-2500. http://www.ada.org The web
page http://www.ada.org/public/education/index.asp lists career mentoring
resources from 20 area dental associations for students K-16 and brochures for
all dental related jobs. Inquiries about this program can be sent to
firstname.lastname@example.org. American Dental Directory
lists over 141,000 dentists. Web site lists dental associations by state and has
excellent links to dental organizations (including the Commission on Dental
Accreditation) and to Internet search engines.
American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) - 444 N. Michigan Ave., Suite
3400, Chicago, Illinois 60611; 312/440-8900. http://www.adha.org,
email@example.com Student membership, $45
includes student liability insurance and two journals. Web site has information
on job hunting and links to placement services and schools.
Dental Related Internet Resources - List of dental educational institutions,
and information about specific dental issues. Their URL is
Exploring Careers in Dentistry by Jessica A. Rickert. $25.25. Published by The
Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 29 East 21st St., New York, NY, 10010;
800/237-9932, Available through used book sellers.
National Board for Certification in Dental Technology (NBC), 325 John Knox Road
#L103, Tallahassee, Florida 32303; 800/684-5310.
firstname.lastname@example.org Contact for
information on requirements for certification.
Resume Writing Service - Professionally package your health care
resume for entry level, standard, and executive positions.
Dental assistants perform a variety of patient care, office, and laboratory
duties. They work chair side as dentists examine and treat patients. They make
patients as comfortable as possible in the dental chair, prepare them for
treatment, and obtain their dental records. Assistants hand instruments and
materials to dentists and keep patients’ mouths dry and clear by using suction
or other devices. Assistants also sterilize and disinfect instruments and
equipment, prepare trays of instruments for dental procedures, and instruct
patients on post-operative and general oral health care. Those with laboratory
duties make casts of the teeth and mouth from impressions, clean and polish
removable appliances, and make temporary crowns. Dental assistants with office
duties schedule and confirm appointments, receive patients, keep treatment
records, send bills, receive payments, and order dental supplies and materials.
Job prospects should be excellent. Dentists are expected to hire more assistants
to perform routine tasks so that they may devote their own time to more complex
procedures. Most assistants learn their skills on the job, although an
increasing number are trained in dental-assisting programs offered by community
and junior colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, or the Armed Forces. Assistants must be a second pair
of hands for a dentist; therefore, dentists look for people who are reliable,
work well with others, and have good manual dexterity. Most states regulate the
duties that dental assistants are allowed to perform through licensure or
registration. Licensure or registration may require passing a written or
Certification is available through DANB and is recognized or required in more than 30 states. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics median hourly earnings of dental assistants were $16.42 in May 2011. More information on this profession can be found at Occupational Outlook
Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Dental Assistants, on the Internet at
Resources (Partial Listing)
Additional Dental Assistant job resources are presented in the paperback
Health Care Job Explosion! 4th edition by Dennis V. Damp for this
occupational group. Resources include Job Ads, Job Hotlines, Job Fairs,
Placement services, Associations, Books, Directories and Internet (Web) Sites.
Your local library may have this book in their reference section or you can
purchase a copy for $19.95 plus shipping with all major credit cards from our
toll free service at 1-800-782-7424 (Orders Only). Also available at all major
bookstores. Also explore jobs at VA hospitals and other
federal government employment options.
American Dental Assistants Association (ADAA) - 35 East Wacker Drive, Suite
1730, Chicago, IL 60601-2211; 312/541-1550. (http://dentalassistant.org
, email@example.com) Student membership is $25. Web site has career information and
links to state associations. Partner site
extensive online posting of job ads and résumés. (Site is being updated; there
may be a fee.)
Dental Assisting National Board (DANB) - 676 North Saint Clair St., Suite
1880, Chicago, IL 60611; 312/642-3368 or 800/FOR-DANB. (http://www.danb.org/)
Contact for information on becoming a Certified Dental Assistant and a list of
state boards of dentistry and information on DAMB exams.