The American Dental Hygienists' Association said a July 6 episode of the ABC program"‘The View’ "grossly misrepresented" the educational requirements and annual salary of dental hygienists. The ADHA contacted the network to clarify what it perceived as misrepresentations.
To watch the July 6 clip of The View, click here. The segment, "Where the Jobs Are" was the last segment of the program. The panel invited Regina Lewis, a financial expert, to offer insights into the job market. Lewis described several companies hiring large numbers of employees and then commented on "Jobs not requiring a college degree." Dental hygiene topped this list, stating that dental hygienists earn more an $45,000 a year.
In a letter to ABC, the ADHA included the official ADHA policy defining a dental hygienist as, “a preventive oral health professional who has graduated from an accredited dental hygiene program in an institution of higher education, licensed in dental hygiene.” The association said that in 49 states hygienists must graduate from an accredited dental hygiene program in order to qualify for licensure. Dental hygienists are qualified to provide educational, clinical, research, administrative, and therapeutic services supporting total health through the promotion of optimal oral health.
ADHA included the following education data to dispute the inaccurate statement made on ‘The View’ that a degree is not required to become a dental hygienist:
- There are 334 entry-level dental hygiene programs in the United States; 290 of these offer associate degrees and 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.
The ADHA asked ABC and "The View" to provide the American viewers with an accurate portrayal of dental hygienists and the vital role they play in Americans’ oral and total health.
1. American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) Policy Manual. Available at: http://www.adha.org/downloads/ADHA_Policies.pdf.
2. American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA), Dental Hygiene Education: Curricula, Program Enrollment and Graduate Information, April 2012. Available at: http://www.adha.org/downloads/edu/dh_ed_fact_sheet.pdf.
3. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook. Available at: http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Healthcare/Dental-hygienists.htm.