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Career Opportunities

dental hygiene student

Working collaboratively with dentists, dental hygienists provide oral health preventive and therapeutic services to the public.

Dental hygienists are most commonly employed in private dental offices, but may provide oral health care services in hospitals, nursing homes and schools. In Oregon dental hygienists can become licensed as expanded practice dental hygienists. This permit allows you to provide dental hygiene care to those with limited access to dental care.

Career options such as research, public health, education, or administration are possible for bachelor degree program graduates. Employment opportunities exist abroad with governmental agencies, companies or in private practice.

The United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, offers the following overview:

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
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2012 192,800
Job Outlook, 2012-22 33% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 64,200

Access the BLS occupational employment statistics web page for more information. For a detailed summary about the dental hygiene profession, visit the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook.

You can also visit the American Dental Hygienists' Association website to learn more about your career as a dental hygienist.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Dental Hygienists, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dental-hygienists.htm (visited July 16, 2015).