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A Career Choice You Can Smile About
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If you’re looking for a career that’ll give you something to smile about, you may want to consider dental hygiene. We want to introduce you to two Florida State College graduates who say they have their dream jobs.
By Florida State College Tue, July 19, 2011 9:47 am EDT
Visits to the dentist may not rank among your fondest childhood memories, but for FSCJ graduates Roshanna Zamorah and Danielle Griffis, those early days in the dental chair were career defining.
“My dentist I went to for 15 years… She actually encouraged me to become a dental hygienist,” says Roshanna Zamorah.
“I have an aunt who is a dental hygienist, so I thought of it way earlier than that. I thought of it closer to middle school. It just sounded like it would be something I’d love to do,” says Danielle Griffis.
So what do they do? Under the supervision of a dentist, dental hygienists clean and polish teeth, apply fluorides and sealants, take x-rays, perform oral cancer screenings, gum disease assessments and—most importantly—they educate patients on how to care for their teeth and gums.
Roshanna and Danielle are flourishing in one of U.S. News and World Report’s Best Careers of 2011.
The careers were selected based on a combination of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics findings—and the news magazine’s own research on job-growth, opportunity, salary and quality of life.
We researched the job outlook for Duval County and discovered that the number of dental hygienist positions is expected to rise 23% through 2018.
Currently, the pay ranges from 19 to 30 dollars an hour, with an annual median wage of 43-thousand dollars.
“I have a one-year-old and I only work here about three days a week. I love that I can be home with my little girl half the time, and I love that the salary is good enough that I can be home half the time,” says Griffis.
The flexible schedules and pay may be appealing; but Dr. Flavio Soares says you will earn it!
“It sounds great, but it’s hard work,” says Dr. Soares, Pediatric Dentist.
“There are a lot of people who are scared to go to the dentists, and you have to deal with that. You have to make them feel comfortable,” says Zamorah.
Griffis: “I’ve brushed so many teeth with them standing up or sitting on mom’s lap—or my lap. If the little ones are nervous, however they’re comfortable.”
Zamorah: “When you get them back to the toothbrush area, they’re picking out toothbrushes and their parents are in the waiting room—by choice—and they start running, you have to go chase them.”
Zamorah: “Yes, they will run down the hall and you have to… fetch! (laugh)
Dr. Soares: “They work extremely hard and are physically exhausted at the of the day.”
But at the end of the day, Griffis says they get:
“Hugs. (laugh) I get hugs. That’s what I love. At the end of the day, they’re excited that it was so much easier than they expected and I get hugs—even from the parents.”
To become a dental hygienist, you need an associate degree from an accredited dental hygiene program. You also need to pass a written and clinical exam to get your license to practice in Florida.
For more education and career information, check out:
I offered our student employee the opportunity to develop her communications skills. Her first assignment: provide a sneak peak at our North Campus lab and offer some fast facts about cost and options for people who live outside of Jacksonville. Fabulous!