Dental hygienists and dental therapists work on treating and preventing diseases and disorders of the teeth and mouth.
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People in these careers:
Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2021 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))
Source: 2021 Job Bank Wage Report
Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook
10 year expected job openings: 1,270
Dental hygienists perform some or all of the following duties:
The dental therapist profession is not formally recognized as a discipline in B.C. All dental hygienists with full registration can perform the following dental therapy duties:
Workers in this occupational group typically work 32–40 hours per week. Those in private practices may work on a part-time schedule or work evenings and weekends.
Most work in clean, well-lit offices. Workers in rural and remote communities may have to travel great distances by vehicle or small plane to reach patients. They may also have to carry heavy equipment and materials for treatment. In the absence of repair services, they may troubleshoot and repair dental equipment.
Workers in these occupations must use sterile techniques and follow proper radiological procedures when taking X-rays. These workers wear safety glasses, masks, gloves and scrubs or lab coats to protect themselves from infectious diseases.
Source: 2016 Census
Completion of secondary school is required to work in these occupations. Dental hygienists requirements include:
All dental therapists in Canada are required to complete a two-year diploma program, which has been offered by the National School of Dental Therapy at First Nations University of Canada in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
Dental hygienists and dental therapists who are certified for that occupation by a regulator elsewhere in Canada can apply for the same certification from the regulator in B.C. Under the terms of the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), most applicants who are transferring their credentials from elsewhere in Canada will not be required to complete additional training or testing. However, the B.C. regulator may ask applicants to provide further information such as a letter of good standing, references, or criminal record check.
For those who trained outside of Canada and never received certification from any Canadian jurisdiction, a full assessment is likely needed. Most occupational regulators have a process for assessment and recognize internationally trained applicants.
Contact the College of Dental Hygienists of BC and/or the College of Dental Technicians of BC for details on how to apply for certification in B.C.
For information about labour mobility in Canada, visit www.workersmobility.ca.
View a list of B.C. occupational regulators.
For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.
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A growing and aging population will require more dental services, which will result in new job openings for these workers. Job opportunities will also become available due to retirements.
As with many health-care professions, there is a shortage of dental hygienists in rural communities of the province. Increased job opportunities may be available in these areas.
Dental hygienists carry a much broader scope of responsibilities than in the past. They are dental health-care educators who instruct patients in oral hygiene procedures and promote community dental health programs. The role of dental hygienists in areas outside clinical practices, such as community health centres and residential care facilities is expected to increase.
Advances in biomedical sciences and disease patterns continuously change the delivery of dental care. Improvements in many aspects of dental care make it possible for dentists to carry out more complex treatments, which may increase overall demand for dental services.
Individuals may begin their careers as dental assistants and advance to the position of hygienist or therapist through further education and training.
Dental hygienists who hold a bachelor's degree may undergo advanced education, such as graduate studies in dental science to broaden their career opportunities.
In British Columbia, legislation permits dental hygienists to own and operate their own dental hygiene practices. Registered hygienists may choose to practise as self-employed contractors.