Dental hygienists clean teeth, examine patients for signs of oral diseases such as gingivitis, and provide other preventive dental care. They also educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health.
In 2014, almost all dental hygienists worked in dentists' offices, and more than half worked part time.
Dental hygienists need an associate's degree in dental hygiene. Programs typically take 3 years to complete. All states require dental hygienists to be licensed; requirements vary by state.
The median annual wage for dental hygienists was $72,330 in May 2015.
Employment of dental hygienists is projected to grow 19 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Ongoing research linking oral health to general health will continue to spur demand for preventive dental services, which are provided by dental hygienists.
Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for dental hygienists.
Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of dental hygienists with similar occupations.
Learn more about dental hygienists by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.