Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. x
Fortis responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Fortis

Associate Programs
Fortis responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Herzing University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Southern New Hampshire University

Master
Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Liberty University

Master
Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Penn-Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Penn-Foster

Certificates
Penn-Foster responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Grand Canyon University

Master
Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Columbia Southern University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Columbia Southern University

Master
Columbia Southern University responds quickly to information requests through this website.
Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

Penn Foster High School

High School Diploma
Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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.

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 226,400 dental hygienists employed in May 2019, and job opportunities are expected to grow by 6% through 2029. Approximately 183,280 of these professionals worked in dental offices in May 2020 and earned an average salary of $78,320. This was slightly higher than the overall average salary for dental hygienists, which was $77,090.

Approximately 2,950 of these professionals worked in employment services and earned $76,000 on average. Fewer worked in physician offices and outpatient care centers, where they earned respective average wages of $77,810 and $77,980.

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 October 2020, PayScale.com reported that dental hygiene instructors earned a median wage of $52,172.

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.