Hygienists sound off on The View's false claims about the profession

July 20, 2012

On July 6th, a segment called "Who's Hiring Now" aired on ABC's daytime talk show "The View." The segment was geared towards examining the current state of the U.S. job market, featuring a special analysis from guest panelist and financial expert Regina Lewis.

On July 6th, a segment called "Who's Hiring Now" aired on ABC's daytime talk show "The View." The segment was geared towards examining the current state of the U.S. job market, featuring a special analysis from guest panelist and financial expert Regina Lewis.

After a long discussion about current industries that are not hiring, Lewis proceeded to discuss careers that do not require college degrees. Dental hygienists, she said, is a good example of a career option for those who have not completed college.

She went on to say, "I only care if you know how to use this tool on that tooth, right?" "It doesn't matter what degree you have. That's an example of a job that you want to have a very specific accreditation to get that job."

During the segment, it was also reported that the average annual salary for dental hygienists is $45,000.

Dental hygienists soon took to Twitter and Facebook to sound off against the information that was shared.

One Facebook user, KellyJ0118, wrote the following comment on the show's website:

"This is very offensive to all of us LDH and RDH across the nation. I worked very hard for my degree in dental hygiene and have the student loans to prove it. I do so much more than "clean" teeth, and can not believe she went on air with this absurd information with out knowing the education required. I know that the ADHA will be contacting the show about this mistake and I hope that a public apology will be soon to come."

Kelly Johnson LDH

Another Facebook user, NitraRDH, responded with the following comment:

"Registered Dental Hygienist is a 2 yr college accredited program with 1 year of prerequisites. Depending on the school- one gets a certificate after 3 years of education or a college degree. Either way- you don't just pick up an instrument and start cleaning teeth as Regina puts it."

The American Dental Hygienist Association wasted no time in responding to the show's claims. The group released a press release stating that it had sent a letter to ABC to set the record straight. In that letter, it stated the following key information:

  • There are 334 entry-level dental hygiene programs in the U.S.

  • 290 of these offer associate degrees

  • 53 offer baccalaureate degrees

  • There are also 20 programs that offer either a master’s degree in dental hygiene or related health sciences

  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary of dental hygienists in 2010 was $68,250 annually

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