Dental hygienists work with dentists and other dental professionals to clean patient’s teeth and educate patients on proper dental care. You can work in a private dental office, hospital, public health clinic or dental research schools. Most dental hygienists make $55K to $81K per year in salary and jobs are available everywhere in the country, though they are more plentiful in major cities where there is a large population of people that require dental care.
At minimum, you will need to get a 2 year associate’s degree in dental hygiene, though many colleges will also offer a 4 year bachelor’s degree as well. The 4 year degree may result in higher salary and higher employability, but of course it takes longer to complete and costs more. So for many the 2 year degree is the way to go.
After you get your degree, you will need to get licensed in the state that you intend to become a working dental hygienist. To qualify to take the licensing exam you will need to have completed your degree and pass a number of exams.
Virtually all states require that you pass the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination along with a state specific exam. Once you are licensed you will be able to use “RDH” or registered dental hygienist after your name to signify that you are a licensed dental hygienist in your state.