Becoming a Dental Hygienist

There are a number of benefits to becoming a dental hygienist, including great pay, job growth, and a flexible schedule. Plus, if you enjoy working with teeth and in the healthcare field, you can combine your interests to help patients avoid harmful oral problems and keep them healthy.

Why Should You Become a Dental Hygienist?
Becoming a dental hygienist is a great career path for anyone interested in healthcare and teeth. If you have thought about becoming a medical professional but don’t have the time or money to devote to years of medical school, you should consider earning a degree to be a dental hygienist. You will have the opportunity to succeed financially and benefit from a bright outlook in your industry.

1. You can receive great pay!
The median annual wage for dental hygienists in 2010 was $68,250. This is much higher than the average salary for health technologists and technicians, which was $39,340 in that same year. It is also much higher than the average salary across all occupations, which was $33,840 in 2010. The way in which you will be paid will vary depending on where you work. You might be paid hourly, by day, by annual salary, or on commission. Overall hygienists make more money working in dentist’s offices than in the offices of other health practitioners. They make even more working with other ambulatory healthcare services. The states with the highest average salaries for hygienists are California, Nevada, Washington, the District of Columbia, and Connecticut.

2. You can benefit from huge job growth!
From 2010 to 2020, this occupation is expected to grow by 38%, much faster than the 14% expected across all job fields. Research continues to come out linking oral hygiene to good health, which will only increase the need for preventative dental services. New technologies have come out that help diagnose oral health problems, which is also expected to contribute to the increased demand. Baby boomers are aging but also keeping more of their original teeth than previous generations. This will increase the number of aging people who will continue to need dental services into their later years. Overall, dental services tend to be influenced by trends in the economy, as its performance affects how willing individuals or insurance companies are to pay for services.

3. You can have a flexible schedule!
38% of dental hygienists worked part time in 2010. This may sound like bad news, as that means 62% of hygienists only worked part time. But this wider range in the number of hours that they work means that you can have more flexibility in your schedule. You may work full time at a single office, or you may work part time at two separate offices, which gives you the benefit of two separate office environments and more diversity in your schedule. It also means that it’s not out of the question for you to work part time on a permanent basis, giving you the freedom to devote time to family or school.


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