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General Information


Frequently Asked Questions About Dental Hygiene

Q. Are there job opportunities in most areas of the state?
A. According to most surveys, Louisiana has fewer dentists and dental hygienists to serve the needs of our population. While the "distribution of hygienists" remains a concern everywhere, dental hygiene graduates in Louisiana do find jobs.

Q. What types of jobs are available after I graduate from dental hygiene?
A. Although most dental hygienists work in a private dental office, there are several other job opportunities available to dental hygienists:

Education: There are over 250 dental hygiene programs in the United States and they all employ dental hygienists as educators. Usually the positions require a Bachelor or Master's degree.
Federal jobs: Opportunities are available for dental hygienists in prisons, Veterans Administration facilities, and the military.
Sales: Many dental supply companies employ dental hygienists either as sales representatives or as part of their education or research departments.
Public Health: Depending on the state one chooses to live in, there are opportunities for dental hygienists in public schools or public health departments.

Q. What types of advanced degrees are available for dental hygienists?
A. Dental hygienists can earn Masters degrees in Dental Hygiene, Education, Public Health, Business, or other health-related areas. Dental Hygienists can also pursue a Ph.D. in these areas, especially if they wish to consider an academic career or serve in a public health leadership position

Q. If I wanted to move out of state, would my Louisiana license allow me to work?
A. Generally speaking, each state has its own licensure requirements. Many states, like Louisiana, are part of regional examination boards. Although some states are more flexible than others, all retain some measure of individuality.

Q. Do most hygiene jobs have benefits?
A. In Louisiana, a "benefits package" seems to be the exception rather than the rule. However, flexible working hours, a nice working environment, and very competitive salaries do seem to offset the lack of benefits.

Q. How are dental hygienists paid in most cases---hourly, daily, weekly, monthly?
A. Depending on the working site, compensations will vary. It seems that most private practice settings pay hygienists by the day.

Q. What is the difference between a dental hygienist, a dental assistant, and dental technologist?
A. In Louisiana, a dental hygienist delivers treatment to patients under the general supervision of a dentist; a dental assistant may perform a limited number of services for a patient but normally assists the dentist chairside; a dental technologist does not treat patients directly, but instead performs laboratory procedures from a written prescription (from a licensed dentist).

Q. What school-related activities are available for dental hygiene students?
A. Dental Hygiene students are very active in the LSUSD chapter of the Student American Dental Hygienists' Association (SADHA). SADHA is the students' branch of the American Dental Hygienists' Association. There are annual elections for officers of the SADHA chapter from each class. There are also annual elections for representatives for the Student Government Association of the LSUHSC School of Dentistry. Students who demonstrate exemplary scholarship, character, & potential for professional growth are invited to become alumnae members of Sigma Phi Alpha, the National Dental Hygiene Honor Society. In addition, students are very active in community projects and various fundraisers benefiting local charities.

Want More Information?

Contact: Ms. Carrie Mason, RDH, MEd, Director of Dental Hygiene
Phone: (504) 941-8153
Fax: (504) 941-8154
Web: http://www.lsusd.lsuhsc.edu
email: ccastr@lsuhsc.edu

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Last Update 10/2013