While they may leave patients in pain sometimes, the job of a dental hygienist is very important to the health of everyone. They contribute to checking for signs of oral diseases and provide preventative care.

Typically, a dental hygientist will work in a dentist office. While they usually only work part time, they do tend to make an average of $76,220. Plus they only need an associate's degree. So if you don't mind looking at teeth, becoming a dental hygientist isn't a bad gig.

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do

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.

Learn more about what a Dental Hygienist does

How To Become a Dental Hygienist

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.

Learn More About How To Become a Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienist Career Paths

Average Salary for a Dental Hygienist

Dental Hygienists in America make an average salary of $88,432 per year or $43 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $137,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $56,000 per year.
Average Dental Hygienist Salary
$88,432 Yearly
$42.52 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

How To Become a Dental Hygienist
How To Become a Dental Hygienist Career Overview

States With The Most Dental Hygienist Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active dental hygienist jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where dental hygienists earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Dental Hygienist Jobs By State

Dental Hygienist Education

Dental Hygienist Majors

1.8 %

Dental Hygienist Degrees


70.8 %


24.7 %


1.5 %

Top Colleges for Dental Hygienists

1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI • Private

In-State Tuition

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition

4. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD • Private

In-State Tuition

5. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition

6. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

7. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

8. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition

9. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN • Private

In-State Tuition

10. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY • Private

In-State Tuition

Top Skills For a Dental Hygienist

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 29.5% of dental hygienists listed patients on their resume, but soft skills such as critical thinking and communication skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Dental Hygienist Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Dental Hygienist templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Dental Hygienist resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Dental Hygienist Demographics

Dental Hygienist Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among dental hygienists, 93.1% of them are women, while 6.9% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among dental hygienists is White, which makes up 77.6% of all dental hygienists.

  • The most common foreign language among dental hygienists is Spanish at 52.8%.

Online Courses For Dental Hygienist That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  
Introduction to Dental Medicine

The mouth is the window into human health. This course provides an overview of dental medicine to engage, educate, excite and assist you in improving the oral health of your patients and members of your community. We will review topics in dental medicine including scope of the field, what to expect in function, and some of the many ways that dysfunction may present for different patients. This will include discussions of mouth, jaw, and tooth anatomy, pathology, and treatment. We will talk about...

Minimal Intervention Dentistry for Paediatric Patients
edX (Global)

Dental caries is the most prevalent oral disease in children worldwide. It severely compromises the quality of life of children and their families. The cost of treating dental caries and its complications place a heavy financial burden on individuals, families and society. Minimal intervention dentistry (MID) is a philosophy of care that aims to conserve tooth tissues throughout a person’s life. It is an effective treatment approach with increasing acceptance among dental professionals. The MID...

The Oral Cavity: Portal to Health and Disease

This course will focus on the interprofessional realtionship of dentistry and medicine. For each session, the medical specialist will present a broad overview of specific disease entity which will be followed by a dental educator discussing the relevant oral manifestations and implications. The final module of each session will be devoted to the interaction between the dental and other health care professionals...

Show More Dental Hygienist Courses
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Best States For a Dental Hygienist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a dental hygienist. The best states for people in this position are Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York. Dental hygienists make the most in Rhode Island with an average salary of $93,609. Whereas in Connecticut and Massachusetts, they would average $93,213 and $93,079, respectively. While dental hygienists would only make an average of $92,508 in New York, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. New Hampshire

Total Dental Hygienist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Pennsylvania

Total Dental Hygienist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. New Mexico

Total Dental Hygienist Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Dental Hygienists

How Do Dental Hygienist Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo


Registered Dental HygienistJune 2019


Zippia Official LogoRegistered Dental HygienistJune 2019

What do you like the most about working as Dental Hygienist?

I love being able to help people get back on track with their health. I love to be a part of the process that stops and maintains oral disease. Show More

What do you NOT like?

It is taxing on your body, especially your neck and back. Show More

Zippia Official Logo


?May 2019


Zippia Official Logo?May 2019

What do you like the most about working as Dental Hygienist?

I love working in Healthcare/Dental and having patients turn into relationships and friendship while doing my job to help them with dental care and hygiene. I liked working in a big office as well. Show More

What do you NOT like?

I have been a Hygienist for 15 years and I am burnt out of the position. I still love dentistry and being part of a team. Show More

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Top Dental Hygienist Employers

Most Common Employers For Dental Hygienist

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Kool Smiles$88,342$42.47109
2American Dental Association$85,190$40.9648
3American Dental Partners$84,969$40.8541
4DentalOne Partners$84,668$40.7143
5Heartland Dental$83,753$40.27103
6Park Dental$83,653$40.2258
7Metro Dentalcare$83,650$40.2250
8Willamette Dental Group$82,926$39.8752
9Pacific Dental Services$82,902$39.8661
10Coast Dental$82,651$39.7485

Dental Hygienist Videos

Becoming a Dental Hygienist FAQs

Dental Hygienist Vs. Nurse

A dental hygienist provides basic dental care to patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist, while a nurse work alongside doctors and physicians to provide quality medical care to patients.

Can You Become A Dental Hygienist In 2 Years?

Yes, you can become a dental hygienist in two years. The minimum level of education a person needs to earn a license to become a dental hygienist is an associate's degree, which typically takes about two years. However, depending on career goals, a person might choose to pursue a four-year bachelor's degree.

Do Dental Hygienists Get Paid Well?

Yes, dental hygienists get paid well. The average income of dental hygienists is around $75,000 in a year. The highest-paid 25 percent typically makes over $90,000 in a year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent makes around $65,000.

Do Dental Hygienists Make More Than Nurses?

Dental hygienists make around the same amount of money as nurses do. Registered nurses earn an average salary of $75,000 per year. Meanwhile, dental hygienists earn a median annual salary of $77,000 in a year.

Is It Easy To Become A Dental Hygienist?

No, it is not easy to become a dental hygienist. While it is easier than becoming a dentist, this position still requires a lot of work and study to achieve the dental hygienist license.

Is It Worth Becoming A Dental Hygienist?

Yes, it is worth it to become a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists often have rewarding careers, which include steady employment and high pay.

Dental hygienists provide basic dental care to patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist. They conduct oral examinations and assess patients for signs of oral diseases like gingivitis. Dental hygienists also provide preventive care and cleanings to ensure patients walk away with a fresh and healthy smile.

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