By Molly Crisp
Pulse Staff Reporter
New learning opportunities and programs are on the rise at Palo Alto College. If you are interested in a career as a dental hygienist, it is closer than you think.
Palo Alto is starting a new program on campus in Fall 2020 that will focus on dental hygiene and the steps you need to take to become a dental hygienist. The dental hygiene program will consist of hands-on training and will be a two-year program, instead of a four-year program, like many other colleges and universities. The program will be on campus and will be convenient for students pursuing this field who live close to campus. The South Side does not currently have another program like this.
Dental hygienists clean teeth, educate patients on how to take care of their oral health, and examine patients for any oral diseases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for dental hygienists is growing quickly and will have 40,900 careers available throughout 2016-2026.
Once you have the proper education to be a dental hygienist, you do not need any previous work experience. The job openings and opportunities continue to grow.
In 2017, the median pay for a dental hygienist was set at a little over $74,000 annually. The exact pay differs based on each state, as well as the requirements for specific programs.
A typical work environment for a dental hygienist is in a dentist’s office. Almost all dental hygienists work in a dental office and more than half of the hygienists worked part-time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
PAC’s dental hygiene program will be a whole new learning experience for Palo Alto students. The program will be an Associate of Science in Pre-Dentistry (Pre-Dentistry, A.S.) earned in a two-year period.
Students will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to start a career as a dental hygienist with an associate degree. As the program comes to life, more information will be released around campus and on Palo Alto’s website.
For more information, students interested in the program may speak with Patrick R. Lee, Interim Dean of Arts and Sciences. You may reach him at (210) 486-3282 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Palo Alto’s Dental Hygiene Consultant, Mary Jacks, will also have more information on the program.