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Dental hygienists are an important part of the dental team, preventing dental problems in adults and children.
Training and qualifications required
To practise as a dental hygienist, you need to take an appropriate course - diploma or degree level - that is approved by the General Dental Council (GDC). Diploma courses take two years, full time.
Once you've finished your course you will need to register with the GDC.
Expected working hours and salary range
Dental hygienists may be self employed or employed directly by a practice. Most dental hygienists in the NHS work standard hours, which are likely to be around 37.5 a week. Working hours vary in general practice. Dental hygienists may work some evenings or weekends. In the NHS your starting salary will be band 5 of the Agenda for Change pay rates.
Desirable skills and values
Good people skills are very important for dental hygienists and you will probably be the kind of person who enjoys a job with plenty of variety.
Experienced dental hygienists can progress to become practice managers or teach on training courses. There are also opportunities to work as orthodontic therapists.