Applicants pending the completion of educational or certification/licensure requirements may be referred and tentatively selected but may not be hired until all requirements are met. Basic Requirements: United States Citizenship: Non-citizens may only be appointed when it is not possible to recruit qualified citizens in accordance with VA Policy. Education. Associate Degree or higher in an accredited dental hygiene program. This program must be accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Licensure. Applicants must be currently licensed to practice as a dental hygienist with a full, current, and unrestricted license in a State, Territory, or Commonwealth of the United States, or the District of Columbia. Certification. Public Law 97-35 requires that persons who administer radiologic procedures meet the credentialing standards in 42 CFR Part 75. Essentially, they must have successfully completed an educational program that meets or exceeds the standards described in that regulation and is accredited by an organization recognized by the Department of Education and be certified as radiographers in their field. Accredited dental hygiene programs contain curriculum addressing radiologic procedures which will meet the requirement for certification as dental radiographers. Exception. Non-certified applicants, who otherwise meet the eligibility requirements for licensure, may be given a temporary appointment as a graduate dental hygienist under the authority of 38 U.S.C. § 7405(c)(2)(B) for a period not to exceed 2 years. Failure to obtain certification during this time period may result in termination of employment. Grandfathering: May qualify based on being covered by the Grandfathering Provision as described in the VA Qualification Standard for this occupation (only applicable to current VHA employees who are in this occupation). Grade Determinations: GS-9 Dental Hygienist (Full Performance Level) - Experience. At least 1 year of experience at the next lower grade level (GS-08) that demonstrates the clinical competencies described at that level, with the demonstrated Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSAs) as follows: Ability to assess the patient's medical, dental, anxiety/phobias, medications and comorbidities for safe patient care; Ability to assess the impact of patient's medical and dental condition on maintaining oral health, recognize age-related changes in individual patients, adapt patient environment, and maximize patient's physical comfort; Skill in detecting plaque and calculus, dental abnormalities/pathologies, assessing inflammation and providing safe instrumentation for each procedure; Knowledge to select appropriate available fluoride products and indications/limitations for safe and proper application; Knowledge of hygiene procedures in order to explain the process and indication, complications and expected treatment outcomes for each; Knowledge of proper usage of dental radiography equipment, radiation safety, assessment of proper image capture and interpretation of films; and Skill in educating patients and caregivers on periodontal disease, wellness, health maintenance, oral hygiene practices, parafunctional habits, and effects of illness, addictions, medications and tobacco on the oral cavity. Preferred Experience: Minimum of five (5) years of experience practicing clinical hygiene with preference given to applicants who have experience working within a VA Medical Center. Previous training and certification in administering local anesthesia (both block and infiltration) under supervision of the dentist and be proficient in taking digital radiographs. The full performance level of this vacancy is GS-9. The actual grade at which an applicant may be selected for this vacancy is at the GS-9 grade. References: VA Handbook 5005/73, Part II, Appendix G37 Physical Requirements: Long periods of sitting and recurring bending and reaching are required while performing dental hygiene procedures. The hygienist must also demonstrate above average dexterity in manipulating dental instruments and materials. Work involves regular and recurring exposure to the hazards of radiation and communicable diseases. The hygienist uses a lead shield for protection against radiation and frequently wears face mask, gloves, gowns and goggles during the performance of clinical procedures.