Dental hygienist associations can provide some benefit to registered dental hygienists building a career foundation. Joining a professional association, like joining the alumni association for the dental hygienist school you graduated from, can lead to continuing education opportunities, career assistance, and other useful benefits.
Two Major Professional Associations for Dental Hygienists
Although there are many professional associations for dental hygienists, there are two major national associations you should know about.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA). With more than 150,000 members in the United States, the ADHA is largest national professional association for dental hygienists. This association provides educational opportunities, implements community service programs, monitors and influences legislation that would affect dental hygienists, and provide many other professional development opportunities. An annual fee is required to maintain your membership in the ADHA.
The National Dental Hygienist Association (NDHA). Affiliated with the National Dental Association, the NDHA is committed to providing educational and networking opportunities to its members. Their conventions provide continuing education credits to those interested in pursuing them and their scholarship program helps dental hygiene students to afford the cost of their education. In addition, this association is particularly dedicated to providing educational and career opportunities for minorities in the dental hygienist field.
Value of Professional Associations
The value of joining professional organizations should not be overlooked. According to employment experts, some of the benefits of professional associations include:
- Networking opportunities. Professional associations provide opportunities (whether online or in person) where you can meet other professionals in your career field. This can lead to numerous career opportunities.
- Mentorships. Through these networking opportunities, you can meet established mentors who will help to guide your career.
- Industry information. Professional associations offer you the opportunity to keep abreast of current developments within the dental hygienist career field.
- Professional development. Most professional associations sponsor continuing education courses, certification programs, and other educational opportunities which will help you to advance in your career.
- Current listings of job openings
- Prestigious resume listing. Membership in a professional association looks good on a resume.
Choosing a Dental Hygienist Association
There are other professional associations for dental hygienists at the national, state, and local levels. While some of these concentrate on limited specialties of the dental profession, many others are much broader in scope. But all of them offer you an opportunity to extend your professional reach, both intellectually and through networking with other professionals. Conducting an Internet search for “dental hygienist professional associations” may be all that you’ll need to do to find the professional organization that will meet your needs.
But don’t just join a professional association, say experts. To get true value out of your membership, you must actively participate in the organization. Go to their conventions. Attend their continuing education seminars. Take advantage of the opportunities that they provide to network with dentists and dental hygienists.
The knowledge and career opportunities that you gain through your affiliation in a professional organization for dental hygienists can be worth far more than the cost of your membership fee.