Job & Wages
The Dental Hygienist plays an important role in the field of health services. He/she is a specialist in the maintenance of good health and education of patients for the prevention of disease. Dental hygienists perform services under the supervision of licensed dentists, and are the only other members of the dental team licensed to perform direct patient care. Dental hygiene is a prevention oriented profession offering a variety of career options. Currently, there are over 125,000 licensed dental hygienists in the United States. A dental hygienist can pursue numerous career options which are defined by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association as: clinician; dental hygiene professor; oral health promoter/educator; researcher; administrator/manager; and consumer advocate. Dental Hygienists must obtain licensure for clinical practice. Contributing factors to dental hygiene salaries include experience, level of responsibility, and practice setting. There is a considerable difference in salary based on geographic regions within the country, and proximity to large metropolitan areas. Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook projections for the years 2012-2022, indicate dental hygiene receives a five star ranking (the highest awarded) with a 4.6% per year employment growth rate. Inexperienced recent graduates may expect a $31.70 per hour wage with $33.10 being the median hourly wage in Southern Utah. Wages vary around the country.