On a typical day a dental hygienist works closely with the dentist and is responsible for a variety of tasks, A dental hygienist’s daily job description can include:

  • Performing dental cleanings
  • Taking and developing dental x-rays
  • Filing patient records to track care and treatment
  • Preparing diagnostic tests as requested by the dentist
  • Applying sealants or fluoride

Going to the dentist can be quite a nerve-wracking experience. But, if you’re an excellent dental hygienist, you can alleviate some of those emotional roller-coaster moments with your warm bedside manner and your friendly smile. A dental hygienist must show compassion and have strong interpersonal skills; they work with people on a daily basis. Personal and professional growth will come from the relationships made between the dental staff and patients.

How to Become a Dental Hygienist (Career Path)

There are two different ways to become a dental hygienist. You can choose to go through an associate degree program or get a bachelor’s degree. Make sure any program you choose is accredited. Otherwise, you won’t be eligible for licensing.

  • Get your high school diploma or GED.
  • Apply and be accepted to an accredited program, whether it’s for an associate or bachelor’s degree.
  • Get licensed through the American Dental Association’s Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations.
  • Start your career!

A dental hygienist program will include classes like:

  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Radiography
  • Periodontology

Dental Hygienist Salary

A pretty good perk with dental hygiene is that you can choose if you want to work full or part-time. You can decide which suits your lifestyle. As a top-paying trade career, the mean full time salary in 2023 was $89,890. The bottom 10% earned about $65,110 and the top 10% earned around $118,400.

Salary info was updated in April of 2024.