Even by the standards of the rapidly growing healthcare industry, the dental hygienist field is exploding in growth.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a staggering 20% growth in the field by 2026, with almost 41,000 new dental hygienist jobs. Forbes, using numbers from trade associations along with BLS data, projects that rate will actually be more like 38% by 2020, with 68,500 people joining the field.
That’s why Forbes ranks it the top job in healthcare for 2018.
Whichever numbers you want to consider, it’s clear that earning a Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene can open the door to a good job in a stable, growing profession.
One of the Best Jobs In Healthcare
Forbes is not alone in ranking dental hygienist as one of the best jobs in healthcare.
U.S. News and World Report lists dental hygiene as the No. 3 job among all healthcare support jobs. It’s also ranked among the Top 100 best jobs in the country.
Why the demand? People now have more knowledge about how dental health ties into their overall health. An aging population may contribute as well, as members of this generation of older U.S. residents are keeping their original teeth longer than previous generations.
The Value of a Bachelor’s Degree
The BLS expects competition for the best jobs in the field, meaning that those with a four-year degree and work experience could have the best prospect of getting top jobs in the field.
That’s why the 100% online program at the University of South Dakota concentrates on those who have earned a two-year degree, gained some work experience and now want to get the educational and leadership advantages of earning a bachelor’s degree.
USD’s dental hygiene program, students will earn general education credits in English, humanities and fine arts and social sciences. Graduates also will complete courses in leadership, current dentistry trends, inclusive patient care and collaborative dental hygiene practice.
Pay for a Dental Hygienist
Pay for dental hygienists is substantial. The median annual pay for a dental hygienist in May 2017 was $74,040, according to the BLS. The top 10% in the field made more than $101,000.
Those who work in a dentist’s office made the most at $74,350, followed by those who work in physician offices $69,630 and in government ($58,940).
The most dental hygienists are employed in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Michigan. In South Dakota, dental hygienists made an annual median wage of $62,560. The top 10% make more than $78,000 per year.
With a bachelor’s degree now considered in many places as the entry-level degree for entering the dental hygienist field, earning a four-degree places graduates in a good position to start a career in this rewarding, growing profession.