I planned on going into dental hygiene because I thought it was quick – 3 years, decent job where you can predict what is going to happen that day, and the pay is good!
I was accepted to a program but did not end up completing it because I have some issues with my arm. I figured if I already have pain with repetitive use than dental hygiene would not be a good fit for me.
My friends in hygiene have had a difficult time finding work, but they have with patience. One started out in reception and would fill in for hygiene for sick days/vacation, eventually a mat leave came up and then another. Given that most hygienists are female there should be mat leaves popping up fairly often.
The funny thing is that I picked hygiene initially because I thought it was a short program and I didn’t want to be in school for too long. I am not 24 and just finished a masters degree and time flew by. However, in my area of work now I am having a hard time finding a job in my area. Part of me wishes I had just done nursing or something where I would have had a guarenteed job.
My parents are both in the dental field. My dad is a dentist and my mom a hygienist. She felt that hygiene became boring and repetitive. However, it paid well and was a good job for the 6 years that she did it for. She then decided to become a stay and home mom and just worked casually.
Have you tried shadowing a hygienist and nurse given that that is what you are pulled between? I did not know as much about nursing as I know now. I wish I could tell my younger self the things I know now!
A hygienists scope of practice is fairly narrrow, 95% of jobs are clinical (some perhaps as an office manager, professor, regulatory body, etc.).
I did not realize the variety of options in nursing until completing practicums as a student. Nurses work in long term care homes, hospitals, in the community, as professors, home care, surgery, emergency rooms, labour and delivery, public health nurses, community development, mental health workers, etc. If you ever decide you want to pursue further education as a nurse there are so many options (i.e. taking a 6 month course regarding critical care nursing to work in an ICU, or a 2 year masters to be a nurse practioner).
Anyways look at the job market in your region and take it seriously, arrange to shadow/meet with dental hygienists and nurses to learn more about their roles.
One option maybe to obtain registration as a dental assistant. This way you could experience the dental profession (while only having spent 9 months in school) and see what you think. If you decide to do nursing or hygiene you will have a decent paying job as an assistant to do while in school.
Good luck 🙂 You’re young and have time to decide
(Sorry that this was so long lol)