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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Bachelor Degree in Dental Hygiene (BSDH) Pros and Cons

April 14, 2021

 bsdh pros and cons

While many know the advantage of a career in dental hygiene is that you can get into the working world with an associate degree, there are options to grow beyond a clinical registered dental hygienist working in a private practice. Those looking for career advancement and more opportunities may be considering a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene (BSDH). Like all education, there are pros and cons to advancing your career. Learn if this degree option is right for you. 

Pro: Career Advancement

Getting a bachelor’s degree in dental hygiene may open the door to supervisory positions at dental offices or other career advancement opportunities. Some career outcomes a BSDH program may prepare you for, according to SJVC experts, include:

  • Dental Hygiene Educator
  • Clinical Research Coordinators 
  • Public Health Administration
  • Dental and Health Services Managers

Con: Time Investment

Getting a degree isn’t as easy as filling out a form online. You’ll need to research BSDH programs, apply and maybe consider financial aid. Once you’re accepted to a program it takes a number of months of studying to get your degree. At SJVC, you can receive a BSDH in as little as 12 months after taking courses in:

  • Teaching Dental Hygiene Theory and Practice 
  • Community Oral Health Assessment and Program Planning 
  • Dental Practice Management 
  • Health Care Law and Ethics 
  • Establishing Best Practices in Quality Improvement of Healthcare 
  • Research and Evidence-Based Practice in Healthcare   

Pro: In-Demand Job

One major pro of working in dental hygiene is that it is a stable career with room to grow. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labors Statistics (BLS), demand for dental hygienists is expected to grow 6% between 2019 and 2029. This is faster than the average growth for all occupations. 

  • The BLS cites an aging population as driving the need for dental hygienists. As more baby boomers are keeping their original teeth than previous generations. Additionally, oral hygiene is increasingly being linked to overall health, driving the need for preventive oral care, which includes what dental hygienists perform. This results in the need for more dental hygiene educators, dental practice managers, and reaching the underserved thru public health administration.

Pro: Potential Salary Increase

As mentioned above, pursuing a higher degree may lead to higher salaries. According to the BLS, advancing your education may lead to better earnings and lower unemployment rates. The BLS reports that in 2019, on average, those with any bachelor’s degree earned $361 more a week than those with an associate degree. The BLS also reported that those with an associate degree had a 2.7% unemployment rate compared to those with a bachelor’s degree reporting a 2.2% unemployment rate. 

Con: Challenges of Working During School 

If you are going back to school for your BSDH, it may mean having to leave the workforce to advance your education. However, there are online BSDH programs that may allow you to balance work, life and school. 

Even when working while pursuing your degree, you may find that you are spread thin. Maintaining a full-time job and education can be challenging. 

Pro: Flexibility

Because many bachelor of science in dental hygiene programs don’t require lab work and hands-on techniques, you may be able to complete them online. This is particularly helpful for students who are currently working as dental hygienists. Online programs offer increased flexibility, allowing you to learn wherever you need to and study at times that are convenient. 

Get an Online BSDH with SJVC

San Joaquin Valley College offers a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene program conveniently online. Earn your BS in as little as 12 months and complete classes with greater flexibility in an online format. Learn more about this program and request more information.

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