Getting back into the work force after being at home with your kids for a number of years can be tough, but it can also very exciting and rewarding. You’ll probably be surprised how much you enjoy getting back into a daily work routine, socializing with co-workers, and having responsibilities, especially if you find a career you like.
A great career option is to become a Registered Dental Hygienist. Why? Because the pay and benefits are good, the work is interesting, the hours are functional for mothers, and the job market is stable (actually, it’s growing).
Becoming a Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH)
First of all, according to this guide to becoming a registered dental hygienist, you need to have finished high school or have your GED. Next, you need to complete the ACT or SAT exam and apply to (and enroll in) a dental hygiene program at a college or technical school. You can do a 2 or 4-year degree to become a dental hygienist; which option you choose will probably depend on a variety of factors such as your finances, timeframe and school preferences.
Not sure how to pay for school? If you’re a single mom, there may be financial help out there. Check with the financial aid office at the school you’re interested in, and more importantly, check out these grant and financial aid opportunities for single mothers that want to purse their education.
Once you’ve finished your degree, you’ll need to pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. You will also probably have to take a CPR course, as many states require that RDH candidates have this certificate. Finally, you’ll need a state license, which you can get from the Secretary of State’s office, and to pass your state clinical exam, according to the guide.
Finding work as a Registered Dental Hygienist
Now that you’ve finished school, passed your exams, and received your certificates, you’re ready to find a job! Luckily, this is a steady and growing field, so finding work shouldn’t be a problem.
According to this article on landing your first RDH job, you may stumble at first in the job search, but as long as you follow a few key steps, you’ll be working in no time: show up in person to any places you’d like to work, network in the dental community, consider part-time or lower paid work at first to get your feet wet and get some experience (for a better job later on), be honest, and most importantly, don’t give up!
Balancing your new career and motherhood
It won’t be easy, but you can do it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends and family. They’ll be proud of you for going to school and pursuing a career as a RDH, and they’ll want to help, or at least you won’t know until you ask. Also, try to find a fair and understandable employer, and look for places to work close to your home – the shorter the commute the better, for you and your kids. Good luck!