Anonymous asked: how long did it take you to find a job after you graduated? do you work full-time? sorry to be nosy but i'm interested in going into dental hygiene but i've been reading really disappointing things about how hard it is for hygienists to find full-time work (or any work at all) and i figured i'd ask!
Why hello, anonymous! Yes, job opportunities for hygiene right now are scarce - especially full time jobs. This goes for most any job profession in this current job market. However, no fear! I have suggestions to put in your face!
Be willing to move where the jobs are. I think a lot of people in my small graduating class (of less than 40 people) had trouble finding a full time job because they weren’t willing to relocate. Florida is very difficult for hygiene right now, I suspect because of the high unemployment rate (unemployed people = no dental insurance = slow practices). I will be quite honest with you - I put 55 resumes throughout three counties and got ONE call back. So I decided to apply to out of state jobs. A flight interview and two weeks later I landed a full time job in my dream office. You just need to be flexible.
That being said, you will need to know if your state has reciprocity with other states. Different states will have different requirements for licensure. I was fortunate that Maryland accepted my test scores from Florida, but some states will require you to take additional exams. If I could do it all over again, I would have avoided taking a Florida exam (which is an “independent” state in the dental profession.. the politics are complicated) since I wasn’t planning on staying there anyway, and taken a REGIONAL exam, which can give you the necessary testing to be eligible to work in several states upon application. Basically, you can take one test and be able to work in multiple states with some proof of a couple of test scores. (I would have taken a North Eastern Regional Exam instead of taking a Florida exam.) Just try to figure out where you are going to school and what kind of reciprocity they have with other places if you are planning on relocating.
If relocating isn’t an option (because if you LOVE where you live, then by all means don’t leave!) I started out at a temp agency. A temp agency is basically filling in as a sub hygienist. I filled in for a couple offices when a hygienist was on maternity leave, or was called early morning when a hygienist was sick. I actually really liked working as a temp because I got paid a little more, and I got a feel for different offices and dentists to work for. It gave me a little bit of experience. I did this for about a month before deciding to relocate for something more permanent - but it was nice to put on my resume!
A word of advice: Stay away from websites like indeed.com hygiene forums. Everyone on there seems to hate their life and despise their jobs. People do nothing but spread negativity on those kinds of forums and scare new hygienists. Don’t let strangers on the internet totally freak you out.
I knew that hygiene field was going to be a little rough. But I am confident that when the job market starts to improve (which it is starting to, slowly but surely!!!) that hygiene will be much better again. You just have to go into it with positivity and do it for the love of the job. I wouldn’t have changed my major for anything!