Dental Hygiene Produce Smile Changers

Graduates from this program, once licensed, can work as dental hygienists for private practices, public health clinics, dental offices such as Brighton Dental, dental pharmaceutical companies, and as teachers in schools or for community outreach.

Mega Doctor NEWS

By Amanda Sotelo

The demand for dental hygienists is on the rise across the state, especially in East and West Texas, where there is more of a shortage of skilled technicians.

The Dental Hygiene program at Texas State Technical College boasts a 100 percent job placement rate. Graduates are finding employment straight out of college in an industry where oral health care is gaining more awareness, checkups are becoming more frequent and the median pay, according to O*Net Online is more than $74,000 a year. 

Dental Hygiene instructor Victoria Martin said they are working to fill a shortage especially in the parts of Texas where dental hygienists are needed the most. They are encouraging students from across the state to consider TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program.

The Dental Hygiene program is two years or six semesters long. When a student graduates they will have the knowledge and skills needed to pass their regional clinic exam and national board exam. Both exams are needed to get licensed and be able to work as a dental hygienist. Graduates from the program will also obtain an additional nitrous oxide certification.

Students learn everything within their scope of practice from comprehensive oral healthcare, treatment of periodontal infection and disease, x-raying, whitening, and tooth sealants. They will learn about overall systemic health such as blood pressure reading, glucose testing, and nutrition.

Dental Hygiene students have access to classrooms and labs equipped with industry-standard technology such as simulation mouth and teeth models, digital x-rays and pharmacology, and dental charting software. Students also have the opportunity to practice their skills on each other and operate a fully functional TSTC dental hygiene clinic that provides oral healthcare for the community.  

The skills students acquire while in the program prepare them to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce. They have the knowledge and skills they need to be marketable when applying for jobs and to lead successful dental hygienist careers.