The State of California comes in just behind Alaska in regard to the highest dental hygienist salary. Although certain areas are pushing upwards of $110,000 per year, the state average is right at around $100,000 per year. Much of it depends on which part of California you’re practicing in and how expensive it is to live in that area. Being able to commute from out of the area can lower your cost of living and allow you to “make more” so to speak. Simply choosing the highest dental hygienist pay may not be significantly different from other areas of the country that pay lower when housing costs and other cost of living factors come into play.
Average Dental Hygienist Pay Vs. Dental Industry Jobs
If you’re someone who wants to work in the dental industry but doesn’t know much about the various career paths to choose from, other options include becoming a dentist, dental assistant, or a dental lab tech. Dentists make over $150,000 per year. Dental assistants earn an average salary of around $39,000 per year. Or if you prefer not to work directly with patients you can pursue becoming a lab tech (individuals who create prosthetics such as dental crowns or dentures) for average pay of about $53,000 per year.
Jobs Related To Dental Hygienist
Depending on how much time you want to spend in school and what interests you, pursuing a dental hygienist career or other job in the dental industry can be the perfect fit. Dental hygienist schooling is usually completed in just 3-4 years (similar to a registered nurse) but if you choose to become a dentist, you’ll be in school for about 8 years. Dentists who choose to specialize in a particular area of dentistry remain in school for an additional 2-3 years on top of completing dental school. On the other hand, lab techs often attend a technical school or are trained under the guidance of a mentor/apprenticeship to learn their trade. Dental assistants earn the lowest salary of dental related jobs, but with their shorter training time it’s also possible to enter a career with little to no student debt.
How To Get A Job As A Dental Hygienist
Does becoming a dental hygienist sound like the best career path? If so, you’ll want to apply to dental hygiene school, which can be quite competitive. Most programs require prerequisite courses in chemistry, anatomy and physiology, microbiology, and core courses such as English, history, college algebra, biology, etc. Some also require an entrance exam in order to apply. In your final semester of dental hygiene schooling, you’ll complete a written national board exam and a state clinical board exam. The first is a multi-hour written test that is accepted by multiple states. The latter is a clinical or “hands on” process where patient care is rendered and evaluated by dental hygiene examination committees. Additional tests are sometimes needed for things such as nitrous oxide monitoring or local anesthetic delivery, depending on your state.