After getting married to my hunk of a husband in August of 2012, I moved to join him just outside of San Francisco, California. California is many things; sunny, beautiful, inspirational, free of tornadoes [seriously one of my worst fears], and accepting.. of just about every possible person, place, thing, religion, race, hair color, questionable fashion choice, etc. EXCEPT my hygiene license.
Let's back up.
In the summer of 2011, after successfully passing four board exams and a state laws test, I graduated from Dental Hygiene School. Easily the most torturous two full years of my life - I still don't know if there even was a summer of 2010. I worked very hard for my title, RDH: Registered Dental Hygienist. For some unknown reason, although I had to take a National Board Exam, Dental Hygiene Licenses are not accepted "Nationally" - I'd like my board money back please! On top of the national board, hygienists must also pass a regional clinical board exam and a regional written board exam [oh, and then for kicks and giggles, I also took the Local Anesthesia Board exam]. At the time, I was living in Ohio and my future husband was still in college, so naturally I took the North Eastern Regional Board Exam [NERB] - encompassing Ohio. While the NERB only officially covers most - you guessed it - Northeastern states, many other states will accept it, only requiring that you take a state laws test.
For California, the required hoops to jump through for a hygienist who had only practiced for a year before moving to the Golden State were outrageous. While many of you don't care, I've gotten a lot of - excuse me - crap for not going for it and getting my license to practice out here. Here's why I didn't:
1. I was going to have to go back to school.
At least for 3 full weekends.
California apparently doesn't trust that the Ohio education I got on simple things like soft tissue curettage, Nitrous Oxide, and periodontal probing, was good enough. For three weekends I would have to travel an hour away, pay for a hotel for the entire weekend, pay for the courses, and oh yes, my favorite part: bring my own patient - a different patient each time - to each course.
Let's add this up:
Cost of all 3 courses combined: $5,000
Gas for 3 round-trip trips about 50 miles each way: $150
Hotel room for myself for 2 nights: $200 x 3 weekends: $600
Hotel room for my patient for 2 nights: $200 x 2 weekends [assuming Tyler would have been a patient for one of the weekends]: $400
Meals for myself and one other person for dinner Friday, lunch/dinner Saturday and Sunday [assuming continental breakfast at the hotel is free]: $100+
Paying patients 2 and 3 for giving up their weekends: $400
Total minimum cost: $6,650
2. I was going to have to take the dreaded clinical board exam.
Any hygienist will tell you, boards, especially clinical boards, are killer. Not to mention, again, cost. Even nurses will tell you that boards are awful and they don't have to provide their own patients! All you need to know as a non-hygienist is that finding a patient for this type of exam is like trying to find a needle in a haystack with all of the requirements they need to hit.
A hygienist out here in California told me that when they went to take the CA clinical board, someone in their class' patient didn't qualify so they had to switch to their backup patient. While their backup patient ended up qualifying, the examiner told her that too much time had already passed into the exam so either A] attempt to clean the patient in limited time and fail which would mean she couldn't retake the test for a few months, or B] withdraw and take the exam again at the next opportunity. She withdrew. [Without reimbursement I might add]. Knowing the backup patient qualified, she gave the patient to another student who was taking the same board exam the next day. Somehow the patient no longer qualified the next day.
As a fresh new Californian, I decided asking people to open their mouths was not the best way to make friends. Board money saved: $2,500+ [test money plus patient time money plus hotel rooms for both myself and my patient the night before the exam plus meals for both]
3. We're moving.
Not now, but it's inevitable.
Tyler's job requires us to be flexible with where we live; transferring employees in his position about every two years. Tyler had already started his two years before we got married, and by the time I moved out, he was three months in. Not wanting to jump right in to a job, I allowed myself unpacking time, decorating time, etc. Six months in. Total time needed to get license: depending on available exam dates, about six months. That puts it at twelve months in to a twenty-four month stint. Assuming I was able to find a job IMMEDIATELY [not likely - I checked Craigslist] that would still only leave twelve months to practice; make it eleven, I need a month to prepare to move again!
4. We are newlyweds.
We are not made out of money, and we want to use what money we do have to be adventurous.
Yes, having my license in a state where hygienists are very well paid would obviously help with financing, but for my husband and I, a $10,000 investment for less than a year of practicing just wasn't worth it. Not to mention, we both wanted for me to have flexible hours so that we could travel on weekends and so that I could entertain guests who came to visit. Asking for various Fridays and Mondays off as well as week-long vacations is not exactly the best intro to a new job. With all of the traveling we've been able to do with me not working as a hygienist, I don't regret not trying to get my license.
With all of that said, I DO miss cleaning teeth! Eventually I will go back to it, but for now I am excited about this new journey I am on.
First, I'd just like to thank anyone who is still reading for making it this far! I don't plan on having posts this long in the future! Now to answer the question:
While stalking Instagram one evening, I stumbled across a blogger who's pictures I fell in love with because they were soo.. me! Her husband encouraged her to start a blog to de-stress from her day job. She's now a well-respected blogger and owns her own bracelet company. If you're not following her, you should: Doctor's Closet. For me this is more because I don't have my dream day job anymore, and I certainly don't expect it to explode like hers did! I'll be honest, I don't really know what I'm doing here. I'm a displaced hygienist who loves interior decorating, fashion, DIY projects, art, etc. No, I do not think I'm necessarily Vogue material or that I'm the Candice Olson of interior decorating, but like the Doctor's Closet's husband, my crazy husband thinks my ideas are good enough to share.