|Quick Facts: Dental Hygienists|
|2012 Median Pay||$70,210 per year
$33.75 per hour
|Entry-Level Education||Associate’s degree|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|Number of Jobs, 2012||192,800|
|Job Outlook, 2012-22||33% (Much faster than average)|
|Employment Change, 2012-22||64,200|
What Dental Hygienists Do
Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventative dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.
Almost all dental hygienists work in dentists’ offices, which are clean and well lit. More than half of dental hygienists work part time.
How to Become a Dental Hygienist
Dental hygienists typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state.
The median annual wage for dental hygienists was $70,210 in May 2012.
Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 33 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventative dental services, which are often provided by dental hygienists.