TSTC Dental Hygiene produce smile changers

By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff

The demand for dental hygienists is on the rise across the state, especially in East and West Texas, where there is more of a shortage for the skilled technicians.

The Dental Hygiene at Texas State Technical College boasts a 100 percent job placement rate. 

Graduates are finding employment straight out of college in an industry where oral health care is gaining more awareness, checkups are becoming more frequent and the median pay, according to O*Net Online is more than $74,000 a year. 

TSTC Dental Hygiene instructor Victoria Martin said they are working to fill a shortage especially in the parts of Texas where dental hygienists are needed the most and are encouraging students from across the state to consider TSTC’s Dental Hygiene program.

What is the length of the program?

The Dental Hygiene program is two years or  six semesters long.

What can students expect when they graduate?

When a student graduates they will have the knowledge and the skills needed to pass their regional clinic exam and national board exam, both needed to get licensed and be able to work as a dental hygienist.

Graduates from the program will also obtain an additional nitrous oxide certification.

What skills do students learn in Dental Hygiene?

Students learn everything within their scope of practice from comprehensive oral healthcare, treatment of periodontal infection and disease, x-raying, whitening, tooth sealants, and overall systemic health such as blood pressure reading, glucose testing and nutrition.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

Dental Hygiene students have access to classrooms and labs equipped with industry-standard technology such as simulation mouth and teeth models, digital x-rays and pharmacology and dental charting software.

Students also have the opportunity to practice their skills on each other and operate a fully functional TSTC dental hygiene clinic that provides oral healthcare for the community.  

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

The skills students acquire while in the program prepare them to hit the ground running when they enter the workforce. They have the knowledge and skills they need to be marketable when applying for jobs and to lead successful dental hygienist careers.

What kind of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Graduates from this program, once licensed, can work as dental hygienists for private practices, public health clinics, dental offices such as Brighton Dental, dental pharmaceutical companies and as teachers in schools or for community outreach.