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I want to start Hygiene School but..

I’m currently working full time as an RDA in a Perio office and I’d like to go on to be an RDH eventually. The 2 schools that offer the program where I live are only full time during the day. Any suggestions on how to go about this? Quit my job, go to school and live out of my car? Save enough money to be able to pay my bills for the 2 years of schooling? Or get a night job while I’m in school? Of course another option is to just drop it and be happy as an RDA. I’ve been told Hygiene school can be very vigorous and I’m not sure if I could handle full time school and a full time job without going crazy!



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9 Answers

Hello Heather! I will give you my thoughts and I am sure others will have great advice too. Hygiene school is full time and there is no time for traditional work. Your nights (after being in class from 8-5 or even 8pm) will be dedicated to studying. You must maintain a certain GPA in order to remain in the program. You are usually juggling around 7 classes a semester including mastering your new clinical skills. Most schools also have clinic during the summer months with a different rotation every week. Do not let this deter you if hygiene is your path. I chose to attend a community college in order to save money. I saved as much as I could leading up to hygiene school and then I applied for school loans. I lived very lean for 2 years in order to keep my debt low. I was able to repay all of my school loans within 2 years of graduating and I did not have to live out of my car:) Look into what you can qualify for loans, student aid, scholarships, EVERYTHING! Good luck:)

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I am a single mother with a mortgage, car note and other bills. I went to hygiene school while working part time. My job as a medical assistant was very flexible and worked with me on scheduling. It was very hard but manageable. I lived off my tax returns, school loans and I did have to get food stamps unfortunately but that’s what the aid is there for. The second year in school I had my mortgage deferred because school became more demanding and I hardly worked I didn’t have to worry about that bill until after school. Its hard but not impossible and it was worth it. If you really want to do it go for it and just take it day by day! You can do it!!

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Wow, yeah, it’s not easy to manage bills and hygiene school! I was very fortunate to be able to live with my sister while I was in school, and although I did maintain a part-time job, I did rely very heavily on student loans to keep my head above water.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way- good luck! Keep us posted!

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I didn’t work while in the hygiene program. Some classmates worked during summer. I dedicated all my free time to studying and preparing for each day. It is a very rigorous program. You might be able to handle working part time, but I wouldn’t count on it. I know some used their school loans to live off while in school. Not sure how that works. I had a friend that did transcription for a local periodontist a few nights a week from her home during hygiene school. Good luck.

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It is hard but it can be done. I worked full time nights and weekends.I was very lucky to work for a very understanding local business and was able to work my schedule around school. My bosses best friend was a hygienist so she was very supportive of my schedule. I studied after classes and what ever free time I had. I don’t remember ever having studied as much as I did in hygiene school. But it was all worth it. I took out student loans and I was lucky enough to be living at home ( I was in my 30’s by the way and this was my 3rd career). It is a huge commitment but well worth it.

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I did it as a single mom. I saved as much as possible ahead of time and utilized all of the help I could get. This included grants, scholarships, loans and a bit of help from family. We lived EXTREMELY tight…I gave up eating out, going out and any kind of a vacation. We had no cable and only what was absolutely necessary. It took me 10 years to pay off my student loans, but was worth it.
I will say, it is a huge investment of time and money. Make sure dentistry is where you want to be…there is a bit of a glass ceiling on pay and also what you can do as a hygienist. I love dentistry so it was definitely the right choice but do know some hygienists who have gone back to school to pursue other avenues.
The best of luck in whatever you decide to do!!!

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I was a single mom of two and worked part time and went to school full time. I took additional student loans to cover what I was missing in income and managed to make it all work. It was stressful but went by quickly. Im still paying on the loans 8 years later but they are manageable and if given the same opportunity Id do it all over again!

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I too had bills living on my own and going to school…no children though, I give you moms a lot of credit for doing that. I had all my pre-requisites out of the way so Hygiene school and working two jobs, both flexible worked for me. I did get some minimal student aid. Try for grants first and then loans. You have to just stay focused on school and work.

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It’s scary but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith! I had to quit my job I was very happy with to start hygiene school and move 4 1/2 hrs away from family and friends but I knew hygiene was what I was really interested in. School is challenging! I just completed my first year and am now back workings as a rda for the summer back at my old job, and I really feel the difference this one year of education has given me. I know more than the rda that has been working there for 25 years!!!

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