If you are searching for a career which pays well and which you can embark on with nothing more than an associate’s degree, dental hygienist is an excellent choice. When you go to the dentist’s office, the specialist who does most of the work on your teeth such as cleaning and fluoride treatments is generally the dental hygienist. The dentist usually comes in to check the work at the end of the session or perform more challenging treatments. While hygienists do not make nearly as much money as dentists do, they earn a high salary relative to their level of education.
Why Become A Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists help patients to keep their teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are a number of reasons to consider working in this field. One of the most important reasons is to help others. This is a field where you can make a genuine difference. Many people find visits to the dentist’s office stressful and unpleasant, and a good hygienist can make a huge difference. The other reason is that the salary is quite good and the entry barriers are not as high for hygienists as they are for dentists.
Dental hygienists almost always work in dentist’s offices. It is a job that requires a lot of interaction with dentists and other hygienists and assistants, as well as with patients. This is very much a customer service role.
Dental Hygienist Salary
Dental hygienists made a median salary of $68,250 per year in 2010, which was equivalent to $32.81 per hour. This is quite a bit higher than the national average for all health technologists and technicians, which was $39,340 per year. This is generally a part time job. Only 38% of dental hygienists were full-time employees as of 2010, so if you are looking for a flexible schedule, this may well be an excellent choice.
Dental Hygienist Career Outlook
If you are interested in becoming a dental hygienist, you are in luck. This is an occupation with a huge growth rate. At 38%, it is much faster than the average for all other occupations. This represents an employment change of around 68,500 new openings between 2010 and 2020. That’s a lot of positions that need to be filled, and a great opportunity if dental hygiene is something that interests you.
Dental Hygienist Degree
Dental hygienists need to be licensed in their respective states in order to practice. You will likely need to get an associate’s degree in order to practice as well. The length of the program will depend on where you go to school. The associate’s degree is generally less expensive and lengthy than pursuing a bachelor’s degree, which means the entry barriers for dental hygienist jobs are lower than they are for many other jobs in the health field. Becoming a dentist would allow you to make far more money, but you would also need to pursue a higher degree in order to qualify.