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Working as a Hygienist

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a hygienist. For example, did you know that they make an average of $38.61 an hour? That's $80,307 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 11% and produce 23,700 job opportunities across the U.S.

What Does a Hygienist Do

There are certain skills that many hygienists have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed dexterity, critical thinking and critical-thinking skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a hygienist, we found that a lot of resumes listed 22.1% of hygienists included dental procedures, while 15.1% of resumes included oral hygiene, and 13.0% of resumes included periodontal disease. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the hygienist job title. But what industry to start with? Most hygienists actually find jobs in the health care and hospitality industries.

How To Become a Hygienist

If you're interested in becoming a hygienist, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 30.8% of hygienists have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 4.8% of hygienists have master's degrees. Even though some hygienists have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a hygienist. When we researched the most common majors for a hygienist, we found that they most commonly earn associate degree degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on hygienist resumes include master's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a hygienist. In fact, many hygienist jobs require experience in a role such as dental hygienist. Meanwhile, many hygienists also have previous career experience in roles such as dental assistant or assistant.

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Average Salary$80,307
Job Growth Rate11%

Hygienist Jobs

Hygienist Career Paths

Top Careers Before Hygienist

Top Careers After Hygienist

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Average Salary for a Hygienist

Hygienists in America make an average salary of $80,307 per year or $39 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $105,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $60,000 per year.
Average Salary
$80,307

Best Paying Cities

City
Average Salary
San Francisco, CA
Salary Range68k - 122k$92k$91,674
Reno, NV
Salary Range65k - 115k$87k$86,832
Albany, OR
Salary Range63k - 108k$83k$83,281
Prescott, AZ
Salary Range61k - 111k$83k$82,658
San Antonio, TX
Salary Range58k - 112k$81k$81,325
Renton, WA
Salary Range61k - 102k$80k$79,641
$49k
$122k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Hygienist | Milwaukie, or-2K !
Hygienist | Milwaukie, or-2K !
Interdent Service Corporation
Interdent Service Corporation
11/25/2020
11/25/2020
$83,48011/25/2020
$83,480
Hygienist | Kirkland, WA-2K !
Hygienist | Kirkland, WA-2K !
William J.K. Saiget, P.C.
William J.K. Saiget, P.C.
11/25/2020
11/25/2020
$98,08911/25/2020
$98,089
Hygienist | Sunnyvale, CA *-2K !
Hygienist | Sunnyvale, CA *-2K !
William Cox Dental Corporation
William Cox Dental Corporation
11/25/2020
11/25/2020
$93,91511/25/2020
$93,915
Hygienist | Seattle, WA-2K !
Hygienist | Seattle, WA-2K !
Interdent Service Corporation
Interdent Service Corporation
11/25/2020
11/25/2020
$98,08911/25/2020
$98,089
Hygienist-RDH
Hygienist-RDH
Aspen Dental
Aspen Dental
11/18/2020
11/18/2020
$73,04511/18/2020
$73,045
See More Recent Salaries

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Hygienist Demographics

Gender

female

74.1 %

male

17.2 %

unknown

8.7 %

Ethnicity

White

62.9 %

Hispanic or Latino

15.8 %

Black or African American

11.4 %

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

22.2 %

Chinese

11.1 %

Urdu

11.1 %
See More Demographics

Hygienist Education

Degrees

Associate

52.9 %

Bachelors

30.8 %

Masters

4.8 %

Top Colleges for Hygienists

1. University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor, MI

In-State Tuition
$15,262
Enrollment
30,079

2. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC

In-State Tuition
$8,987
Enrollment
18,946

3. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

4. University of Maryland - College Park

College Park, MD

In-State Tuition
$10,595
Enrollment
30,184

5. Boston University

Boston, MA

In-State Tuition
$53,948
Enrollment
17,238

6. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY

In-State Tuition
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

7. New York University

New York, NY

In-State Tuition
$51,828
Enrollment
26,339

8. University of Washington

Seattle, WA

In-State Tuition
$11,207
Enrollment
30,905

9. University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

Minneapolis, MN

In-State Tuition
$14,760
Enrollment
31,451

10. SUNY at Buffalo

Buffalo, NY

In-State Tuition
$10,099
Enrollment
21,404
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Hygienist

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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Top Skills For a 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, 22.1% of hygienists listed dental procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as dexterity and critical thinking are important as well.

  • Oral Hygiene, 18.8%
  • Dental Procedures, 13.4%
  • Patient Care, 12.2%
  • Clinical Findings, 10.8%
  • Aspen, 9.5%
  • Other Skills, 35.3%
  • See All Hygienist Skills

Best States For a Hygienist

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a hygienist. The best states for people in this position are California, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona. Hygienists make the most in California with an average salary of $86,763. Whereas in Nevada and Oregon, they would average $84,365 and $82,662, respectively. While hygienists would only make an average of $82,599 in Arizona, 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. Nevada

Total Hygienist Jobs:
15
Highest 10% Earn:
$145,000
Location Quotient:
1.13
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Arizona

Total Hygienist Jobs:
29
Highest 10% Earn:
$144,000
Location Quotient:
0.82
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Oregon

Total Hygienist Jobs:
44
Highest 10% Earn:
$134,000
Location Quotient:
1.83
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
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Top Hygienist Employers

1. Aspen Dental Management
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$41,490
Hygienists Hired: 
64+
2. InterDent
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$56,462
Hygienists Hired: 
23+
3. Western Dental Services
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$42,950
Hygienists Hired: 
20+
4. Heartland Dental
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$52,178
Hygienists Hired: 
4+
5. Sentage
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$48,486
Hygienists Hired: 
4+
6. KOOL Smiles
3.6
Avg. Salary: 
$54,034
Hygienists Hired: 
3+

Recently Added Hygienist Jobs