What New Hygiene Graduates Need to Know about Temping

As you approach graduation from your dental hygiene program, naturally, your thoughts turn to the job search. It is common for a new hygienist to have many questions about their new profession. What needs to be on your resume? What type of office do you want to work for? How much should you get paid? We understand that it can feel overwhelming. Working shifts as a temp can provide great professional experience and industry knowledge to help you make better career decisions.  Keep reading to learn about the benefits of temping specifically for new dental hygienists.

Misconceptions about Temping as a New Hygienist in the United States

Dental hygiene students at Texas A&M's College of Dentistry get a guest presentation from Tallent acquisition speicalist, Piper Walton (left) and Texas Operations Manager Bree Dunkin (right).

Dental hygiene students at Texas A&M’s College of Dentistry get a guest presentation from Piper Walton, talent acquisition specialist, (left), and  Bree Dunkin, Texas operations manager, (right).

New grads (and even some experienced professionals) might write off temp work because of a narrow understanding that does not consider the modern dental industry. Dental hygienist temps cover a wide range of staffing needs and they have become an important flexible resource for the dental industry. Of course, temping isn’t for everyone, but you owe it to yourself to know the facts and consider the opportunities.

Often, new graduates assume they need to build their experience at a single office. It may be easier for you to build familiarity with a single office, but it does not necessarily establish your professional experience more quickly. As a dental hygienist, you should consider how to develop your self-confidence chairside. Temping provides an opportunity to develop your clinical skills as well as your professionalism as you meet new people in a variety of settings.

Temporary assignments come in many shapes and sizes. You could find opportunities ranging in duration from a half-day to multiple months. Similarly, you can choose your availability based on your goals. Many staffing companies, like Kwikly, allow you to pick up shifts seasonally, part-time, or even full-time.

Benefits of Temping as a New Hygienist

In addition to the typical perks, temp work provides some unique opportunities to new graduates. Here is a summary of the most important benefits.

Broader Dental Industry Knowledge

Working as a temporary staff member for different offices provides a lot of rich professional experience. You get to use your skills while learning how different offices and professionals operate.

Office Fit

The type of office you work in as you get out of school can impact the trajectory of your career. For example, if you are in an office that makes you miserable for whatever reason (politics, a small office when a big one would suit you more, mean doctor, etc), you may incorrectly assume that hygiene is wrong for you. Countless hygienists experience doubt or burnout just because they were in the wrong office setting. Temping gives you an opportunity to learn what setting fits your work style. This is extremely valuable as you consider future permanent positions.

Accelerated Professional Development

Temping exposes you to a wide variety of software, technology, and even techniques used by different offices. You get to see how different offices are run and you develop a valuable perspective on what works and what doesn’t.

Networking in the Dental Industry

Kwikly staff deliver guest presentation to dental new hygienist students in Texas.

Kwikly staff deliver a guest presentation to dental hygiene students in Texas.

As a temp, you are able to meet many other dental professionals and develop expansive networks. It’s common for temps to build relationships with multiple offices and pick up shifts regularly to maintain connections. These relationships can lead to other valuable opportunities, references, and permanent positions.

Schedule Flexibility

You get to build your own schedule as a temp. You can pick up extra shifts to pay down those student loans faster or take a break to give your body a rest. Take time to travel or work part-time to fit your family schedule. Whatever your priorities are, you get to decide.

Greater Pay

Pay rates are normally higher for temporary dental staff. This can be particularly helpful for paying off student loans. If you start temping, it is important to consider your employment status (if you are a W-2 employee or an independent contractor) because that will impact your “take-home” pay and how much money you need to set aside for taxes. For example, at Kwikly, our dental professionals are W-2 employees which means Kwikly sets money aside for the professionals’ taxes, pays a portion of federal taxes, and provides unemployment benefits. With other agencies or online temp platforms, professionals are classified as independent contractors. This means you would be responsible for managing the entirety of the tax obligations and you do not receive unemployment benefits.

Is Temping Right for You?

Picking up shifts as a temporary dental hygienist comes with greater freedom and control over your work life. With this additional control comes extra responsibility. Professionalism, self-presentation, and attention to detail are always important (you learned that in hygiene school) but they are even more important as you frequently make new first impressions. If that is the kind of opportunity that gets you excited to go to work, temping could be a great fit for your dental hygiene career. If not, you may prefer to do great work in a permanent position. Just remember there are amazing temporary professionals ready to help your staff when you need them.

How Kwikly Supports the Career Development of New Hygienists in the USA

At Kwikly, we have a specialized approach for our newer hygienists. While we offer top-tier support to everyone on our time, we take extra care to nurture our new graduates. When you join our platform, you will be assigned a manager who is your go-to resource as you get established in the dental industry. Our managers are experienced professionals that can explain differences that you may encounter between concepts learned in school and clinical application. This may include everything from how to approach selective polishing to the varied approach to perio APA guidelines.

When new graduates want to temp, Kwikly’s app is the best at providing clear and detailed information about the offices and shifts available. This means that new graduates can select office settings that match their preferred pace and experience. Our managers will even help you pick shifts based on feedback we’ve received from previous employees. As you start working your first shifts, your manager will take the time to work through any feedback you get (good or bad) to help you improve as a hygienist. This focused approach gives you what you need to build your confidence and experience as a professional.