Do you have an associate's degree but paid for a bachelor's?

May 27, 2015

Millennials in almost any arena except dental hygiene know entry level is a bachelor's degree. Many dental hygienists have an associate’s degree but have paid for a baccalaureate in time, energy and cold, hard cash. The only people who don’t know it are recent grads, non-dental people and registered dental hygienists that just ignore this cold, hard fact.

Millennials in almost any arena except dental hygiene know entry level is a bachelor's degree. Many dental hygienists have an associate’s degree but have paid for a baccalaureate in time, energy and cold, hard cash.

The only people who don’t know it are recent grads, non-dental people and registered dental hygienists that just ignore this cold, hard fact.

Once hygienists learn they’re gypped out of an undergrad degree, it’s usually too late. Physical limitations start to become evident, and working chairside becomes increasingly difficult.The only way to change it is to talk about it.

This past summer on Cross Link Radio, Shirley interviewed Trisha O’Hehir, who started her own university for dental hygienists with associate's degrees. Trish was motivated because of the disdain she saw between orofacial myofunctional therapists (OMTs) trained via the speech pathologist route to those on the dental hygiene route.

More from DiGangi and Gutkowski: The truth about alternating codes D4910 and D1110

They said hygienists weren’t educated enough.Trisha sat down and counted all the credits associate's degree hygienists earn before finishing the 90 they earn for their degree. It turned out hygienists have more credits than speech pathologists.

One of the dark days Shirley had as state DHA president was hearing a dentist in a legislative hearing tell the legislators that dental hygienists had only a technical school degree and could not be loosed onto the unsuspecting public. Patti sat in a legislative committee hearing in 2015 in her state when it was said a dental hygienist with only cursory education does not have the skills to review health history.

ADHA has emphasized the need for advanced practitioners yet the majority of the currently practicing professionals don’t have the degree needed to even consider this.The ADHA says in its policy manual (page 23), “the American Dental Hygienists’ Association declares its intent to establish the baccalaureate degree as the minimum entry level for dental hygiene practice.”

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Unfortunately, the ADHA has no direct standing, authority or say-so in the credentialing of a school or setting the standards of education. The ADA requires students to take courses and hire people who are schooled to only work in a dental office. Today, there are 50 or more applicants to every chairside opening. The more experienced clinical hygienists cannot move out of their clinical position; they don’t have the education they need to work in any other health care field. The new, need-to-practice hygienists can’t find an empty chair to sit in. In addition, the hourly wage of an employee is about 2/3 of what it was 15 years ago.

Even worse is the decreasing number of four-year schools offering a dental hygiene baccalaureate program and the price of the two-year non-transferable degree that costs the same and has the same credit outcome of a four-year degree.

This education system is so broken it’s hard to imagine a repair. The fox guarding the hen house is costing the country billions of dollars. People need access to dental hygienists at every life stage. In long-term care alone, billions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars are wasted because oral care is delegated to a nursing assistant with a higher comfort level with the end of the alimentary canal without teeth.

More from DiGangi: 5 things your dental practice needs to know right now about Medicare

Here hygienists are like battered spouses still willing to work with the very people who have had a foot on hygienist’s neck for the last 75 years. Dr. Fones was right when he said hygienists are necessary to help patients learn how to care for their teeth.

The current educational system is a double-cross, and we need to sound an alert-Patients and legislators need to know. Dental hygienists are uniquely qualified to care for the mouth-the center of the person, the most innervated area of the body, the center of health and disease, love and communication. Our Boomer, Xer, and Yer, compatriots may be able to look to our Millennial co-workers to set this system right. Let’s get out of the way and let them try.

We want to hear from you on this issue. This is huge for the future as well as anyone looking for employment right now. Please post your thoughts below.

Check Out Training Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Cross Link Radio on BlogTalkRadio

 

More from DiGangi and Gutkowski: Bleeding on punching in the nose: Thoughts on bleeding on probing

Millennials in almost any arena except dental hygiene know entry level is a bachelor's degree. Many dental hygienists have an associate’s degree but have paid for a baccalaureate in time, energy and cold, hard cash. The only people who don’t know it are recent grads, non-dental people and registered dental hygienists that just ignore this cold, hard fact.

Once hygienists learn they’re gypped out of an undergrad degree, it’s usually too late. Physical limitations start to become evident, and working chairside becomes increasingly difficult.The only way to change it is to talk about it.

This past summer on Cross Link Radio, Shirley interviewed Trisha O’Hehir, who started her own university for dental hygienists with associate's degrees. Trish was motivated because of the disdain she saw between orofacial myofunctional therapists (OMTs) trained via the speech pathologist route to those on the dental hygiene route.

More from DiGangi and Gutkowski: The truth about alternating codes D4910 and D1110

They said hygienists weren’t educated enough.Trisha sat down and counted all the credits associate's degree hygienists earn before finishing the 90 they earn for their degree. It turned out hygienists have more credits than speech pathologists.

One of the dark days Shirley had as state DHA president was hearing a dentist in a legislative hearing tell the legislators that dental hygienists had only a technical school degree and could not be loosed onto the unsuspecting public. Patti sat in a legislative committee hearing in 2015 in her state when it was said a dental hygienist with only cursory education does not have the skills to review health history.

ADHA has emphasized the need for advanced practitioners yet the majority of the currently practicing professionals don’t have the degree needed to even consider this.The ADHA says in its policy manual (page 23), “the American Dental Hygienists’ Association declares its intent to establish the baccalaureate degree as the minimum entry level for dental hygiene practice.”

Free on-demand webinar: Understanding medical billing and its relationship with 3D

Continue reading on Page 2 ...

Unfortunately, the ADHA has no direct standing, authority or say-so in the credentialing of a school or setting the standards of education. The ADA requires students to take courses and hire people who are schooled to only work in a dental office. Today, there are 50 or more applicants to every chairside opening. The more experienced clinical hygienists cannot move out of their clinical position; they don’t have the education they need to work in any other health care field. The new, need-to-practice hygienists can’t find an empty chair to sit in. In addition, the hourly wage of an employee is about 2/3 of what it was 15 years ago.

Even worse is the decreasing number of four-year schools offering a dental hygiene baccalaureate program and the price of the two-year non-transferable degree that costs the same and has the same credit outcome of a four-year degree.

This education system is so broken it’s hard to imagine a repair. The fox guarding the hen house is costing the country billions of dollars. People need access to dental hygienists at every life stage. In long-term care alone, billions of Medicare and Medicaid dollars are wasted because oral care is delegated to a nursing assistant with a higher comfort level with the end of the alimentary canal without teeth.

More from DiGangi: 5 things your dental practice needs to know right now about Medicare

Here hygienists are like battered spouses still willing to work with the very people who have had a foot on hygienist’s neck for the last 75 years. Dr. Fones was right when he said hygienists are necessary to help patients learn how to care for their teeth.

The current educational system is a double-cross, and we need to sound an alert-Patients and legislators need to know. Dental hygienists are uniquely qualified to care for the mouth-the center of the person, the most innervated area of the body, the center of health and disease, love and communication. Our Boomer, Xer, and Yer, compatriots may be able to look to our Millennial co-workers to set this system right. Let’s get out of the way and let them try.

We want to hear from you on this issue. This is huge for the future as well as anyone looking for employment right now. Please post your thoughts below.

Check Out Training Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with

Cross Link Radio

on BlogTalkRadio  

More from DiGangi and Gutkowski: Bleeding on punching in the nose: Thoughts on bleeding on probing