What Are Some Career Options for Dental Hygienists?

When you choose a career as a dental hygienist, you have several options open for employment opportunities. Read on to learn more about career options in dental hygiene. Schools offering Dental Hygiene degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Options

Dental hygienists can find employment in a variety of work environments, including medical clinics and offices and educational facilities. Hygienists might work in research or for manufacturing firms that produce dental equipment or supplies. Some common places for dental hygienists to work include:

  • Dental offices
  • Doctor's offices
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Hospitals
  • Colleges or universities

Important Facts About Dental Hygienists

On-the-Job Training Not required, but available through work experience
Professional Certification None available
Key Skills Good judgment and decision making, critical thinking, problem solving, customer focused, excellent observation, good coordination and manual dexterity
Similar Occupations Dental assistants, medical assistants, physicians assistants, radiation therapists, registered nurses

Jobs at an Office or Clinic

According to the BLS, there were approximately 196,520 dental hygienists employed in May 2014, and job opportunities are expected to grow by 33% through 2022. Approximately 187,370 of these professionals worked in dental offices in May 2014 and earned an average salary of $72,300. This was slightly higher than the overall average salary for dental hygienists, which was $71,970.

Approximately 1,940 of these professionals worked in physicians' offices and earned $67,440 on average. Fewer worked in outpatient care centers and the federal executive branch, where they earned respective average wages of $67,920 and $55,630.

Jobs as Educators

A dental hygienist who completes education requirements for an advanced degree program may choose to work as an educator in a college, trade school or other institution of higher learning. This allows the dental hygienist to prepare other students to enter the field. In September 2015, PayScale.com reported that dental hygiene instructors earned a median wage of $50,043.

Job Duties

Dental hygienists do many tasks, such as taking part in evaluations or assessments of the patient in order to recommend treatment procedures. They may also take dental radiographs, discuss findings with patients or supervise other dental office personnel. Dental hygienists in some states can administer anesthetics as part of oral surgery procedures. Other tasks and procedures can include cleaning the teeth, applying fluoride, preparing fillings and removing sutures.

Education and Licensure Requirements

Dental hygienists must complete a dental hygiene associate's degree from a school, college or other institution. These programs include training in dental anatomy and radiography, periodontology and pain management. Students acquire the skills needed to assess and treat dental disease.

The graduate then will be required to successfully complete licensing requirements in the jurisdiction where he or she plans to work. The BLS reports that dental hygienists need to be licensed to practice in all states. In most cases, the state requires written and practical examinations to demonstrate proficiency as a dental hygienist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
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  • Northcentral University

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  • Fortis College

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    • Maryland: Towson
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  • Regent University

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    Popular programs at Regent University:

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Indiana Wesleyan University

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  • Penn Foster

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