A career as a dental nurse is a rewarding career option for many people who wish to join the dental industry. With the number of dental nurse jobs increasing year on year, many experts believe that there has never been a better time to become a dental nurse.
Dental nurses are also known as dental hygienists. These clinical personnel traditionally work in the dental surgery initiating such services as teeth cleaning and preventative care education.
The daily chores that a qualified dental nurse completes varies between different states, aswell as different countries. Common tasks include completing X-rays, placing sealants in patient’s mouths, managing pain relief and taking out sutures. There can be many hours whereby a dental nurse is leaning over patients, completing the necessary work, so a lot of patience and skill is required. Most dentists tend to hire dental nurses on a part time basis, but there many full time positions available.
In terms of requirements for beginning a dental nurse career, you will need to complete an accredited dental hygiene degree in order to obtain a licence to practice.
Below is a five step timeline for becoming a dental nurse. These steps will vary, so this should only be seen as a rough guide.
1st Step – Satisfy Entry Requirements for Dental Hygiene School
It is necessary to possess a high school education qualification. Nearly all dental schools will require this, although there are dental hygiene school entrance programmes for people lacking the basic high school qualifications.
2nd Step- Join a Dental Hygiene Program
Most employers will require the completion of an associate degree, especially in a private dental surgery.
3rd Step: Obtain a License to Practice
It is essential for all dental nurses and dental hygienists to become licensed prior to seeking employment. In order to gain a licence, the dental nurse or hygienist must pass three exams set by the ADA (American Dental Association). There will also be a practical examination set by the state or region that the dental nurse or hygienist wishes to practice in.
4th Step – Apply Fora Job as Dental Nurse
As mentioned earlier, many dentists only require a dental nurse on a part time basis, so you may need to apply for more than one position in order to reach full time hours. Many dental practices will require the dental hygienist or nurse to have at least 1 years experience, so applying for work experience may be required in order to satisfy this requirement.
5th Step – Join a Professional Body
We would recommend joining the respected ADHA – which is the American Dental Hygienists Association. The ADHA will offer professional services that will greatly benefit your career, and it offers networking opportunities which may help you secure that dream job.