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3 Essential Steps for Hygienists Considering Career Options

By Jennifer Condon, RDH, BS Hygiene Recruiter

COVID-19 created lasting effects on the labor market, changing the experience for organizations seeking top talent and candidates searching for new opportunities alike. In dentistry, the growing demand for dental care and the pressing need for dental hygienists to meet patient needs is prevalent.

Whether you’re fresh out of dental hygiene school or it’s just time for a change in your full-time career, there are a lot of opportunities out there. However, while you may see many job postings available, it can be difficult to determine if the office and position are a right fit for you and your career goals.

Let’s explore three steps you should consider taking when navigating your career options.

  1. Research Dental Offices

One of the first things you should do is determine what type of dental office you want to work in: solo, group, or an office supported by a Dental Support Organization (DSO). To make this decision, it's important to take the time to assess your career goals and values and see which option will help you thrive professionally and personally. No matter the model, each office has its own unique benefits, culture and team dynamics. You may benefit from keeping your options open as you seek out an office that aligns with your priorities.

To determine the best fit for you, remember to be true to yourself. You know the things you value most about being a dental hygienist and do not sell yourself short. The right office is out there, sometimes it just requires a little patience to find the right one.

  1. Prepare For an Interview

So now you have done your research on the different dental offices you can work in and are preparing for the next step, the interview. I always believe in having a set of questions ready for the employer or whoever you are interviewing with.

Interviewing is a two-way street; having questions ready shows employers that you came prepared. They are seeing if you make a good fit, but you are seeing if they and the office are where you want to work. Here are a few questions that you may want to consider asking:

  • What does the partnership look like between the hygienist(s) and the doctor(s) in the office?
  • What continuing education classes are available? And are courses sponsored by the office?
  • Is there an on-boarding process for new employees?
  • What long term growth opportunities does your practice offer?

Asking the right questions will allow you to get a better picture of your opportunities. Having good questions will also show the office that you are a strong oral health care professional who values your role on the dental team. I encourage you to check out this interview guide to help you research and prep for your next role.

  1. Consider Total Compensation

Evaluating total compensation is an essential step when considering a job offer. It's important to not just focus on competitive pay. When looking an offer, be sure to ask specific questions to fully understand the benefits and compensation package. For example, asking about the frequency of raises and promotions, insurance coverage, bonus opportunities, and continuing education sponsorship can give you a better understanding of the total value of the job offer. By fully evaluating the compensation package, you can make a more informed decision about accepting a job offer that meets your needs and values as a dental hygienist.

Whether you're at the beginning of your career or seeking a change, it's essential to prepare yourself so you can find the dental home that best fits your needs.

You can learn more about how Heartland Dental supports hygienists and their careers at Heartland.com/careers.

Tags: Dental Support Organization, Leadership, Careers In the Dental Industry, Dental Hygienist, Industry Insights, Success Stories, In the News