How To Become A Dental Hygienist

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.

Dental hygienists help dentists work on patients by performing such procedures as cleaning their teeth and applying fluoride treatments. Those who are inclined to work in dental offices and don’t want to undergo the rigorous and lengthy training that dentists go through should become dental hygienists.

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 Hygienist Work Environment

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

It is a career that pays very decent wages and it is a career that’s expected to have very positive growth rates in the next few years which will result to more job opportunities.

Average Dental Hygienist Annual Salary


The average annual salary for dental hygienists is $74,680 a year. Salaries start at $51,180 a year and go up to $101,330 a year.

Average Dental Hygienist Hourly Wage


The average hourly wage for a dental hygienist is $35.91. Hourly wages are between $24.61 and $48.72 an hour.

Stats were based out of 211,600 employed dental hygienists in the United States.

Highest Paying States For Dental Hygienists

Top Paying Cities For Dental Hygienists

Data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

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.

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