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Job Search Tips for Hygienists

Tips for hygienists from a dental recruiter: 3 steps to finding your dream job

You know what a dream job looks like. Feeling like your work matters. Feeling appreciated. Good compensation and benefits. Real work-life balance. But how do you find one?

By Tend

Fact: 34% of hygienists are looking for a new job in the dental field. And it’s a good time to be looking. About 30% of dental practices are hiring. (In fact, Tend is one of them.) Demand for dental hygienists is high. Even though it’s a good time to be searching, there’s a lot to consider. We asked our recruiters for some tips not just on how to find a dental job, but how to find your dental dream job.

Step 1: Narrow the field

Understanding the type of practice you’d like to work for can help make your search easier. Historically, there have been two types of dental offices: private practices and corporate practices. Each has its perks (and quirks) and the experience of working at each of these types of businesses is very different. But there’s also a third option, and it’s a recent addition to the dental industry. Tend is reinventing dental, and a little later on, we’ll get into all the specifics. Let’s get into it and talk about the pros and cons.

Private practices

Private practices make up the majority of dental offices in the U.S. They’re owned by a single dentist or a small group of partners. They’re usually local and have a smaller staff. Like any model, private practices have pros and cons.

Pros: On the plus side, since the offices are generally smaller, you’ll have fewer patients. That means you can get to know each of them a little better and start to build relationships. The work culture is generally warm.

Cons: On the minus side, smaller practices offer less stability since they aren’t part of a larger network with more providers and resources. Their benefits may not be as robust as at other types of practices. This is because their size can limit their bargaining power when negotiating things like how much health care will cost their employees. Lastly, smaller staff and less turnover means there may be fewer opportunities for promotion or professional growth.

Traditional corporate practices

The big difference between private practices and corporate practices is, well, size. Private dental practices usually have one location. A traditional corporate practice (or a practice that is part of a Dental Service Organization, or DSO) can have dozens or even hundreds. The scale of these businesses has a big impact on what it’s like to work there.

Pros: Size can be a good thing. Since the success of the business doesn’t depend on a single office, there’s a lot more job stability. These kinds of practices have a lot of employees, and they can generally offer better benefits and more opportunities to move up in the company.

Cons: Running a profitable DSO is all about the numbers. These offices are usually production-focused, incentivizing providers to offer aggressive care that may not put patients first. And even though there are more opportunities for growth, there may be a lot of competition for those spots. Location is also a factor. Many DSOs operate mostly in suburbs, so if you live in a city you may have a longer commute.
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A new model

The two models we just mentioned (private practices and corporate practices) used to dominate the dental industry. But lately, things have started to change. We’re doing The Tend Difference. Tend is in a category all its own.

We bring together the best of both worlds, balancing national support with thoughtful leadership, and a focus on hospitality.

All our studios are located in major metro areas. And each has everything our dentists and hygienists need to feel comfortable and provide incredible patient experiences. The latest technology? Check. Beautiful workplaces? Check. Top notch benefits. Check. Check. Check.

We believe that providing the best possible care means taking care of you. Supportive leadership, opportunities for growth, and online courses help prepare you for success and for whatever comes next in your career

Step 2: Start the search

Once you’ve got an idea of what you’re looking for, it’s time to get out there and start finding it. Job boards can be a good resource, but when it comes to finding leads, there may be better places to start.

Leverage your network

Most hygienists find jobs through their own networks. 46% find them through their professional networks. An additional 41.5% learn about new jobs from their friends and family. Ask around. Chances are someone you know has a lead for you.
Leverage Your Network

Reach out to classmates

People you went to hygiene school with can be a great resource and it’s important to stay connected. In addition to reminiscing with you about your school days, they can help steer you towards job openings.

Pro tip: You can broaden and strengthen these connections by joining alumni groups, attending events, or subscribing to newsletters from your dental school to learn about new opportunities.

Faculty and career services

If you’re a student, or a recent grad, your professional network is still growing. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a ton of great resources at your fingertips. A lot of dental schools have a whole Career Services department dedicated to helping you find a job. It’s also a good idea to attend career fairs and vendor days to meet prospective employers.

Your professors can help, too. They want you to succeed professionally as much as academically. They may have advice or professional connections that can help you after graduation.


Even if you have a big network, it can be a little awkward to start reaching out to people directly. One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of employers (including Tend) offer referral bonuses. So if someone you know recommends you for a job and you get it, they benefit, too. It’s a win-win.

Step 3: Apply

Once you’ve decided what kind of job you want, and you’ve leveraged your network, and you found the perfect position for you, there’s only one thing left to do: apply! Update your resume (to make it easy, we have a downloadable template you can use), get your references in order, get out there and wow somebody. We know you’ll do an amazing job.

Ready to show us what you’ve got?

Our dental studios are always looking for top-notch talent.

View open roles
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