Introduction

As the career of dental hygiene evolves, new pathways for alternative settings emerge. Many of these pathways involve the field of dental public health. Dental public health offers hygienists features that make a desirable career choice for new graduates entering the field and others desiring to switch practice settings. These features include a diversity of experiences and patients; autonomy to direct one’s own workday; the fulfillment to help others and a break from the routine of an 8-5 schedule.

Many of the qualifications needed in dental public health are present in the skill set of dental hygienists, but the task of locating a position often makes it difficult to “break into the field” of dental public health. One does not simply open Craig’s List and find a listing of available positions in dental public health. This course will assist dental hygienists in locating a career in dental public health and will direct the learner to market the skills that he/she has which are necessary to enter into this field. The course will call for learners to explore websites. Be prepared to stop at designated points throughout the course material.

Often dental hygienists set off on the path of finding a career in dental public health and fail to really decide upon which path in public health he or she desires; this can lead to confusion and disappointment. One must begin the pursuit for a career in public health by clearly investigating the field and making some personal choices. A Dental Public Health Career Search flow chart is presented in Appendix A to help direct the thought process when making career decisions.