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Dental Hygienist

Career data updated last on 8/19/2014
Dental Hygienist Many people first meet dental hygienists in private dental offices where dental hygienists perform many critical services including prevention, detection, and treatment of diseases of the mouth. Teaching people how to attain and maintain oral health is the goal of dental hygiene care. A career in dental hygiene offers multiple opportunities in multiple settings. Dental hygienists collect information for patient histories, examine the teeth and gums, and remove plaque and stains. They apply fluoride treatments and take X-rays. Advising patients about their diet and educating them about proper dental care is an important part of the hygienist's job.
Salary $34.19 - hourly $71,110 annually
Significant Points Employment of dental hygienists is expected to grow 30 percent through 2016, much faster than the average for all occupations. This projected growth ranks dental hygienists among the fastest growing occupations, in response to the greater use of hygienists and increasing demand for dental care. Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Work Environment Dental hygienists work under the supervision of a dentist in private dental offices, public health departments, hospitals and nursing homes. Some are employed by private business, correctional facilities or the military. Flexible scheduling is a distinctive feature of this job. Full-time, part-time, evening, and weekend work is available. Dentists frequently hire hygienists to work only 2 or 3 days a week, so hygienists may hold jobs in more than one dental office. According to the American Dental Association, 86 percent of hygienists receive hospital and medical benefits.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; science courses including one biological science and chemistry; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements Dental hygienists are eligible for state licensure after graduation from an educational program accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation and after successfully completing a written National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the state licensure examination, which includes both written and clinical examinations. Training is available from a community college (two-year program), and from a university three or four-year program. All programs cover anatomy, oral care, X-rays and related topics.


Colorado Northwestern Community College
Associate Degree Associate
Community College of Denver-Lowry Campus
Associate Degree Associate
Pueblo Community College-Pueblo Campus
Associate Degree Associate
University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
Bachelor Degree Bachelor's

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